The Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2) are off to one of their best starts in franchise history.
The Lakers have the opportunity to improve to .500, despite playing without Kobe Bryant (sidelined with an Achilles' tendon injury).
Gasol is coming off a pair of difficult shooting nights in which he hit just 1 of 10 against the Houston Rockets and 3 of 12 in New Orleans visiting the Pelicans. The Lakers need a stronger performance offensively from Gasol against the Wolves.
Kevin Martin is shooting 46.7% from the field, an impressive 56.7% from three-point range and 90.2% from the line. If the Lakers let Marin have an efficient night, the Wolves could be a problem.
The difficulty for the Lakers is trying to guard the 6-foot-7 Martin with the 6-3 Steve Blake.
Blake hit a big shot against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, playing a steadier game in the second week of the season than he did in the first.
The Lakers need their minutes' leader (Blake, at 30.9 a game) to give a strong performance on both ends of the floor against Minnesota.
The Lakers are vulnerable against the Wolves' talented starting five.
Minnesota isn't the deepest team in the league. They're also not necessarily a strong defensive unit.
The Lakers played well for most of the last two games, with big lapses in both (one win in Houston, the loss in New Orleans).
Sunday is a winnable game for the Lakers, but it's going to take a more consistent effort to beat Minnesota, even at Staples Center.
ALSO:email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.