Game 4 of the Western Conference playoff series between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center, would be moved to Monday if the hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, scheduled earlier in the day at the arena, goes multiple overtime periods and delays the start of the NBA game too much, an NBA spokesman told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Staples Center is in the midst of a dizzying run of hosting six playoff games in four days. The final stage of the Amgen Tour of California is set to finish in front of the building Sunday morning, just 30 minutes before the start of the Kings game.
“It takes two hours and 15 minutes (to change the floor from hockey to basketball), so now that’s 7:15, and the teams need 90 minutes to warm up, so that puts you back to a 9 o’clock tipoff.
“So you’re looking at potentially 20,000 Kings fans emptying the building at the same time 20,000 Clippers fans are waiting outside and we’re not ready yet. That’s my biggest fear.”
Staples Center is offering free coffee and donuts beginning at 9 a.m. to Kings fans who want to avoid the crush and get inside the building early.
The arena has hosted 127 doubleheaders since opening in 1998. Basketball to basketball is no problem, Staples Center senior vice president and general manager Lee Zeidman said. Basketball to hockey isn’t difficult, either. The problem lies in going from hockey to basketball, where it takes about twice as long to convert the playing surfaces.
“While it’s not my decision about what happens to that 7:30 Clipper game if the hockey game goes into overtime, I’m concerned about it,” Zeidman said. “There’s going to be a drop-dead time somewhere along the way because what we can’t have is the hockey game ending around 5 or 5:30.U