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Man appeared on court with knife prior to Cavs-Clippers game

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES: An unidentified man with a steak knife was taken into custody by police officers Saturday morning at Staples Center, a couple of hours prior to the Cavs game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

No one was injured and the man was apprehended by police after about a 30-minute standoff.

"He was talking a lot of gibberish, making a lot of veiled threats and nobody could understand him," said Lee Zeidman, general manager of Staples Center. "A lot of vulgarity, a lot of statements that didn't make any sense. We quite frankly don't understand why he tried to do this."

The man was an African American, but no other details about him are known at this time.

Christian Eyenga was believed to be the only Cavs player on the court when the man appeared and pulled out the knife. Eyenga, whose English is limited, went running off the court, while the rest of the Cavs players were detained in the team locker room and watched the events on the court unfold on closed circuit television.

"They said the guy had a knife and Christian took off," said Cavs coach Byron Scott, a Los Angeles native. "He understands knife. I think that goes all the way to Congo. Knife means get the hell out."

The man arrived at the employee entrance of Staples Center around 10:43 a.m. PDT, Zeidman said. When security officials asked to see his credentials, the man pulled out the knife and told officers to get away from him. Staples security contacted Los Angeles police and the arena was placed on lockdown.

After police tried negotiating with him, they subdued him with beanbag guns around 11:15 a.m. PDT. The start of the game, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PDT, was delayed about 15 minutes.

Only the first Cavs bus had arrived when the incident began. Scott was on the second bus, which was detained at the entrance. The Cavs' second bus was allowed to enter the bowels of the arena and the players and coaches on board were screened, but they were not allowed into the locker room.

"Just one of those crazy things," Scott said. "When you think you’ve seen it all, something else happens."

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