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For the first time in almost 50 days, the Spurs look to regroup

By Royce Young | NBA writer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Spurs haven't had this feeling for quite a while.

Almost 50 days, in fact. If you didn't know this already, that's a long time to go without losing a game. So long that you almost forget what it feels like.

But the Spurs were reminded, and quite rudely, in Game 3 against the Thunder. Having gone so long without having to bounce back, it's a legit question as to how the Spurs will respond.

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"Good teams always come [back] from a loss," said coach Gregg Popovich. "You don't know if you're going to win or lose the next game, but you come back and you play. Everybody wins and loses. It's not that dramatic a thing. If you win, it's not the most amazing thing in the world, and if you lose it's not the most amazing thing. You just keep on playing."

The Spurs knew they weren't invincible, even if it may have seemed that way to all of us. They knew they had issues, knew they were making mistakes and knew they could be better.

"In every sport, in every country of the world, when you win, everything is great and you are almost perfect," said Manu Ginobili. "When you lose, you start hearing critics and everything like that. We knew -- and Pop was adamant in showing us -- that we were making mistakes even when we were winning. But losing, it can happen."

And it did. In a pretty eye-opening way. There's something about ending a 20-game winning streak with a 20-point loss. Maybe it regained the Spurs attention.

"It hopefully does," said Tim Duncan. "We'll see how we react to it, but yeah, that's the effect we're looking for."

Said Ginobili: "Usually it's easier to refocus after a loss than a win. Players usually have a tendency after winning a few games to relax a little or feel complacent. In the past, we've reacted really well to wins. We'll see how we do with losses."

There was a small thought that maybe the loss could be a good thing for the Spurs. Something of a wake-up call, something to show them they bleed if they're cut. Popovich isn't buying that.

"Everybody wants to win every game. That's what you try to do. You try to win," he said. "Nobody wants to lose a game in the playoffs. You try to win every game."

The Spurs have a high task though. They have to bounce back against a desperate, hungry Thunder team playing in their home arena, which has a well-deserved reputation. Winning in Oklahoma City is a challenge for anyone, much less against a Thunder team playing with some much-needed confidence.

"We always react pretty well after losses," said Tony Parker. "We always bounce back. We have a great opportunity tomorrow and a great challenge.

"It's our turn to see how we bounce back and react after a loss."
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