Patrick Healy, Scott Spiro
Downtown LA will be the focus of the sports world this weekend. The Lakers, Clippers and Kings all have playoff games at Staples Center, the combination of which could create a traffic nightmare. Patrick Healy reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 17, 2012.
It’s the first time in the history of the Staples Center that all three professional sports teams - the Kings, Clippers and Lakers - are in the playoffs and officials are bracing for the crush of traffic to hit downtown Los Angeles.
There are six sports events over 80 hours starting Thursday night and ending Sunday.
Some 250,000 fans are expected for four events at Staples Center, a major bike race converging on downtown and Dodgers game starting at 7:10 Saturday night.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I believe that we'd be in this situation," said Lee Zeidman, the vice president and general manager of Staples Center.
Zeidman said he is concerned that if the Kings game goes into OT on Sunday, it could interfere with the tip off time for the Clippers game scheduled on the floor of Staples at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
"So if this game goes one, two, three overtimes, all bets are off because each overtime period could add an hour to the end of that game," Zeidman said, adding it takes on average two hours and fifteen minutes to change the floor.
Officials were urging sports fans to park north of Staples Center and walk to avoid crossing streets closed for the final loop of the Amgen Tour of California bike race. Thousands of cycling fans were expected to watch that event just before the Kings' faceoff time on Sunday evening.
Free shuttles will drop fans off outside the bike race.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said more than 100 officers will be out in force - on motorcycles, bikes and in cars - to make sure traffic flows smoothly.
"My greatest fear is that somebody or some group of folks start to act silly or decit that rather than celebrating responsibly, they start to burn things or light things on fire and we have to make a lot of arrests," he said.