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Big crowds expected at Staples Center and L.A. Live tonight

October 27, 2009 | 12:41 pm

More than 25,000 people are expected to descend on a two-block area of downtown tonight for both the Lakers-Clippers basketball game and the premiere of the Michael Jackson movie “This is It,” prompting officials to warn fans of heavy traffic and urging them to come early.

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The red carpet arrivals at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the screening at 6. The basketball game begins next door at Staples Center at 7:30.

That will be followed by the grand opening of the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live, which will begin showing “This is It” at 9.

“We’re trying to educate people to leave plenty of time to get here early,” said Cara Vanderhook, a Staples spokeswoman.

Vanderhook said Lakers season ticket holders as well as those who bought tickets through Ticketmaster were contacted via e-mail and urged to come early. The stadium has a 19,000-seat capacity and is sold out. The Nokia Theatre has 6,000 seats available, she said.

A parking advisory on the L.A. Live Web site warns visitors that there will be increased traffic between 3 and 11 p.m.

Los Angeles police are aware of the anticipated turnout and potential traffic problems, said Officer Sara Faden.

“We’re prepared,” she said.

-- Raja Abdulrahim

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