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Staples Center braces for busy weekend of LA basketball, hockey playoffs

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012, at 10:23AM
Flickr via Chris Yarzab

Lakers fans outside the Staples Center during a previous year's playoffs. This year, the Lakers, Clippers and the Kings have all made it to postseason.

It's a great time to be a Los Angeles sports fan, as the Lakers, Clippers and Kings advance farther into postseason play. But for their shared home court (or rink) space at the Staples Center, it's created a congested schedule for the upcoming weekend -- with six games over the course of four days.

Both the Clippers and the the Lakers went to seven games in their first round of playoffs, and Staples Center Senior Vice President and General Manager Lee Zeidman told CBS this is when he realized Staples could face "the perfect storm" of game scheduling.

Between Thursday and Sunday, each local team will play at Staples twice -- weekend days will face doubleheaders, with the Lakers and Clippers both playing Saturday and the Kings and Clippers scheduled for Sunday. In addition to changing over court colors for different NBA teams, a complete surface change is required for the basketball to hockey transition.

"What people don't really understand is there are 168 suites, 53 concession stands," Zeidman told CBS. "Not only do you have to convert it and get [the floor] ready for warmups and other stuff, but you have to clean the building. That's just as big a challenge as converting it. It can be completed in 2 1/2 hours."

The Clippers, L.A.'s perpetual basketball underdogs, have never won an NBA championship and rarely even make it to the playoffs while the Lakers have won the championship five times since 2000.

Lakers spokesman John Black told the Orange County Register that he doesn't think sharing the Staples Center during playoffs will cause any problems for the team.

"It's not much to affect us really, as we're used to playing in the off-season, but with three teams all simultaneously in the playoffs, it should generate a lot of excitement in and around Staples Center, especially for those who run and operate the building," Black said to the O.C. Register. "The scheduling issues and problems will be theirs mostly as well."

Making the L.A. Live area even more bustling this Sunday is the Amgen pro bicycling tour that will finish its eight day race through California right across the street from the Staples Center. From 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a festival near the finish line with entertainment, food and health screenings.

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