Lakers beat Celtics to win NBA championship

LOS ANGELES The /*Lakers*/ crushed the /*Celtics*/ 89-67 on Tuesday, and all the practice since Game 6 has paid off for Los Angeles with Thursday's victory. But it wasn't a blow out. The neck-and-neck game was a low scoring match for both teams, as they barely topped the 50s mark by the third quarter.

The Lakers were down by a handful of points throughout most of the matchup, but they rallied in the fourth quarter to overtake the stubborn Celtics.

/*Kobe Bryant*/ scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting while winning his fifth title with the Lakers, and /*Ron Artest*/ added 20 points to his team.

The Lakers and Celtics have met in 12 NBA finals, but the Lakers won for just the third time.

The drama of Game 7 extended beyond the walls of Staples Center as Lakers Fever spread throughout Los Angeles. Police presence was amped in many districts as they tried with everything in their arsenal to prevent riots seen in past championship wins.

Unlawful assemblies were declared near the arena, where fans reportedly threw rocks and bottles at police officers and set a car on fire on Flower Street near 7th and 8th streets. As for 10:50 p.m., L.A. police reported making 12 arrests. One arrest was reportedly for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, and other arrests range from public intoxication, inciting fights and vandalism. At least one police LAPD officer was injured with a possible broken nose after getting hit by rocks and bottles.

An unlawful assembly was also declared in East L.A., but celebratory activities did not get out of hand in that area and crowds dispersed peacefully for the most part.

Several people were arrested for vandalism on Wednesday following last year's Lakers unrest. Authorities in L.A. and Riverside counties raided 36 locations as part of the ongoing investigation. They arrested 15 people who were allegedly part of a major tagging crew.

Investigators believe the same crew hit targets in San Diego and San Bernardino counties and were responsible for vandalizing a Metro bus after last year's Lakers victory.

Police and city officials warned those without tickets for Game 7 to just stay home.

"Save money, save gas, by celebrating at or near your home," said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

In 2000, police cars and news vans were destroyed, and 12 people were injured.

"Let's show some class here, you know? Let's show them that we're not the animals they think we are," said Lakers fan Joan Alpert.

But some Lakers fans said it's just more exciting to celebrate in downtown L.A.

"The fun is right here in Staples Center. That's why they built it for, so that's what it has to be," said Lakers fan Robert Garcia.

The Lakers will host a celebratory /*parade*/ for all local fans on Monday, June 21, starting at Staples Center and traveling south through downtown. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. The team is picking up the tab for the parade.

Unlike last year's parade, which was followed by a celebration complete with speeches and Laker Girl performances at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, there will be no post-parade event on Monday.

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