The Los Angeles Lakers expect Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to be rougher than the first three, but the Portland Trail Blazers say they want to take a more intellectual approach.

"I think the game will be a lot more physical and we have to be ready for that," L.A.'s Byron Scott said.Buck Williams said he doesn't think that's the answer for Portland.

"I don't think we need to be more physical; we need to play smarter, especially with our shot selection and our defensive game," Williams said.

The Trail Blazers need desperately to do something. Down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, a loss in Sunday's game (1:30 p.m. MDT) at the Forum would push them to the brink of elimination.

"Game 4 is going to be crucial for us," Clyde Drexler said. "It's no time to panic, but we need more intensity on defense and need to keep up the effort for the full four quarters."

The Lakers, outmuscled in a 109-98 loss at Portland in Game 2, came out with fire in their eyes for the third game.

Boxing out under the boards and contesting almost every shot the Trail Blazers took, Los Angeles shot out to a 10-0 lead and was in front the rest of the way in a 106-92 victory Friday night.

Portland stayed within striking range in the first half, but an 18-7 run to start the third quarter put the Lakers up 61-47 and they were in control the rest of the way.

The Trail Blazers shot an anemic 37 percent from the floor to the Lakers' 49.4.

"We were missing wide-open shots, everything," Portland coach Rick Adelman said. "It just seemed to happen to everybody at once."

"I can't remember when we shot so poorly," Portland's Terry Porter said. "Shots just didn't fall."

Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy wasn't exactly feeling secure despite the 2-1 lead.

"It means nothing," he said. "It doesn't mean anything until you win four games."

The fifth game of the series is scheduled for Tuesday night at Portland. A sixth game, if necessary, will be at the Forum on Thursday, and a seventh would be at Portland on Saturday.