Staples Center tightens security

Updated: March 20, 2011, 11:15 PM ET
By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- Slight modifications to Staples Center security measures were evident at the Clippers-Suns game Sunday, the day after a man wielding a knife reached the court before the Clippers played the Cavaliers.

Normally the entrance used by employees and media members has two security guards standing inside behind a metal detector. One person inspects bags and the other uses a hand-held metal detector to "wand" anyone who sets off the walk-through detector alarm. Sunday a third security guard was stationed outside the door.

An additional member of the Clippers' security staff was seated by the bench during the game. Players noticed an increased security presence.

"I think it's a little tighter," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "I know they had a little more people on the court."

On Saturday a man pulled a knife on security guards at the employee entrance, then made it to the court, where he was surrounded by Staples Center security and off-duty police officers in the building while waiting for Los Angeles Police Department officers to arrive. It was approximately 10:45 a.m. PT and members of the Clippers and Cavaliers were warming up on the court while Clippers cheerleaders were rehearsing. They were cleared from the area and, after a 20-minute standoff he was taken down by bean-bag projectiles shot by LAPD officers and taken into custody.

Staples Center senior vice president Lee Zeidman said the proper procedures were followed and that he does not anticipate major policy changes, although there will be a review.

"It's all about being aware," Zeidman said. "We need to focus on who's out there."

This is the first incident of its type at Staples Center, which opened in 1999. The building hosted 250 events and 4 million visitors in 2010, Zeidman said.

"It was a weird thing that happened the other day," said Ryan Gomes, one of the Clippers who was on the court during the incident. "Security should be, I guess, a little bit tighter. But it was before [the general public] was in the arena. Plus the guy must have just snuck in. I was surprised how he got all the way down to the court.

"It was one of those freak things that happened. Hopefully it won't happen again. It was not on my mind today. Once they know it can happen then you don't have to be worried about it any more."

Suns guard Steve Nash said a team athletic trainer told him about Saturday's incident before he played the Clippers, but it wasn't on his mind throughout the day.

"I felt very safe," Nash said.

Gomes, just to be sure, added a new element to his pregame routine.

"I just make sure when I shoot, every jumper I look around," Gomes said.

J.A. Adande is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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