Scouting Update: Wolves vs. Lakers

Updated: May 27, 2004, 10:18 AM ET
By Brian James | Special to ESPN Insider
Timberwolves' plus-minus breakdown | Lakers' 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.

It has to be somewhat demoralizing for Minnesota coach Flip Saunders to look at his halftime stat sheet in Game 3 and see Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant with only eight points combined but the Lakers still holding a nine-point lead.

This was not a good sign, since everyone knew Shaq and Kobe would start taking charge soon. Minnesota, when completely healthy, would still have its hands full with the Lakers, but now they have to come up with alternative game plans because Sam Cassell has not been playing at full strength the entire series.

The Lakers accomplished their goal by winning at least one game in Minnesota and stealing home-court advantage. Minnesota now has to regain its confidence and believe it can, indeed, win one game in L.A. and win back the home-court edge. It won't be easy, but let's break down what has worked thus far and what adjustments are necessary.