What Goes Into a Clippers-Lakers Court Switch

The Clippers and Lakers play back-to-back games Sunday, requiring a court quick-change at Staples Center. Here's a look at how the hardwood swap happens

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Friday, Mar 15, 2013  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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    The Clippers and Lakers play home games in the same arena, but use different courts, seating configurations, scorers tables and even basketball hoops, all of which will be switched out Sunday when the two teams play back-to-back at Staples Center.

    When the final buzzer sounds at the end of Sunday's mid-day Clippers-Knicks game, the Staples Center Changeover Crew will start preparing the arena for the Lakers-Pacers game, scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

    The Changeover Crew has performed about 135 double-header switches since Staples Center opened in October 1999. Sixty of those have been basketball-to-basketball conversions, others were hockey-to-basketball conversions -- the fastest of which was accomplished in 1 hour, 50 minutes.

    Swapping out a 200-by-85-foot hockey rink for a 120-by-60-foot basketball court is usually done in about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

    The Clippers-to-Lakers swap takes about 90 minutes and involves more than just the playing surface. The Lakers and Clippers have their own scorers tables and basketball hoops.


    How It's Done

    • 35 Changeover Crew members work on the event level.
    • More than 120 workers clean the rest of Staples Center between games.
    • A 2-inch thick overlay floor covers the ice rink. The overlay is made of two plywood layers, two polyurethane layers and insulation.
    • The overlay floor is divided into 530 sections, most of which are 4-by-8-foot panels.
    • The Clippers and Lakers courts consist of 220 sections of 4-by-8-foot maple panels bolted together.
    • Two-by-three-foot slats are placed under the basketball floor. The pine slats act as joists under each panel, creating gaps that produce the court's springy feel.

    Pre- and post-game events are planned Sunday, including the St. Patrick's Day Festival at LA Live.
     

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