Final

Los Angeles wins series 4-2 (Game 4 of 6)

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

Game 1: Friday, May 21st
Lakers97Final
Timberwolves88
Game 2: Sunday, May 23rd
Lakers71Final
Timberwolves89
Game 3: Tuesday, May 25th
Timberwolves89Final
Lakers100
Game 4: Thursday, May 27th
Timberwolves85Final
Lakers92
Game 5: Saturday, May 29th
Lakers96Final
Timberwolves98
Game 6: Monday, May 31st
Timberwolves90Final
Lakers96

Lakers 92

(56-26, 34-7 home)

6:00 PM ET, May 27, 2004

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 24 16 20 2585
LAL 23 22 30 1792

Top Performers

Min: K. Garnett 28 Pts, 13 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

LAL: K. Bryant 31 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Minnesota at LA Lakers 9:00 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers can take a commanding advantage in the Western Conference finals on Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Four.

Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the series after a 100-89 victory on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant scored all of his 22 points in the second half and Shaquille O'Neal ha 22 and 17 rebounds for the Lakers.

The Lakers received tremendous balance and placed all five starters in double figures for the first time in the postseason. Gary Payton scored 14 of his 18 points in the first quarter and added nine assists.

Minnesota has dropped three straight road playoff games. Kevin Garnett collected 22 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's loss.

MEANINGFUL MATCHUP:

G Gary Payton vs Sam Cassell. The point guard matchup was dead even in Game Three with Payton and Cassell canceling each other out, for all intents and purposes. From Minnesota's standpoint, that can't happen for it to prevail. Cassell must get back to the form he displayed earlier in the playoffs when he was exploding for 30-plus points. But Payton has played reasonably well since criticism about his inability to guard San Antonio's Tony Parker in the conference semifinals.

WHO'S HOT:

Timberwolves: F Latrell Sprewell is averaging 19.3 points in the series, proving that he can raise his game to match the circumstances. Sprewell has drained three 3-pointers in each of the first three games of this series, which has been a surprising boost.

Lakers: O'Neal is averaging 21.0 points this series, a figure that could be expected from him. But his 17.0 rebounds per game have helped Los Angeles control the backboards. O'Neal also has a total of 12 assists and eventually made his free throws down the stretch on Tuesday when Minnesota resorted to fouling him.

WHO'S NOT:

Timberwolves: With Wally Szczerbiak shining, G Trenton Hassell has seen his role diminished. Hassell has logged only 43 minutes in the three games and won't see an increase in playing time unless he can find a way to slow down Bryant.

Lakers: G Derek Fisher was solid with 14 points in Game One, but has just three baskets since and has also struggled on the defensive end while running through the myriad of screens set by the Timberwolves.

STREAKS: Los Angeles has won nine straight home games, including all seven in the postseason.

SEASON SERIES & HISTORY: Minnesota won three of four regular-season meetings with Los Angeles, splitting two games at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves in six games in the first round last season in the only previous postseason matchup between the clubs.

INJURIES:

Timberwolves: None.

Lakers: None.

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