Scouting Update: Lakers vs. Spurs

Updated: May 11, 2004, 12:32 PM ET
By Brian James | Special to ESPN Insider
Lakers' plus-minus breakdown | Spurs' plus-minus breakdown

Brian James, a former assistant coach with the Pistons, Raptors and Wizards, spent the 2003-04 season scouting for the SuperSonics. Insider tapped his NBA expertise to break down each playoff series.

Through 12 playoff series in both conferences thus far, I have noticed two very glaring trends. First, the winner of the first quarter has gone on to win 40 of the 48 games played through Monday night. That's an .833 winning percentage.

Second, almost every team's game plan has been to stop the opponent's point guard. Teams have prepared scouting reports and had coaches meetings, practices and game-day walkthroughs focused on getting the ball out of the hands of guys like Sam Cassell, Mike Bibby, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Steve Francis, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Dwyane Wade, Baron Davis and Stephon Marbury.