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It's Showtime

Basketball and entertainment will intersect as Lakers play host to Game 1 of conference finals at Staples Center and neighboring Nokia Theatre is the site for 'American Idol' season finale.

May 21, 2008

Live from downtown L.A. tonight, it's a traffic jam full of spotlights and entertainment and cultural icons:

It's Kobe Bryant, Jack Nicholson and the Lakers versus Tim Duncan, Eva Longoria Parker and the defending NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs, in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center. Across the street, at the same time, in the Nokia Theatre it's David Cook versus David Archuleta in the season finale of "American Idol."

Common links? At least one: "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul jump-started her career as a teenager dancing as a Laker Girl during the Lakers' Showtime era of the early 1980s.

The Fox show, now in its seventh season, is the No.1-rated TV show; the Lakers, in their 48th season here, have won nine NBA titles since moving to California. And according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, the Lakers are their top choice to win the title this season.

The one certainty: On Chick Hearn Court (11th Street), one lane will be blocked tonight because of heavy traffic. Park early.

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