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LAPD to be out in force for Lakers-Celtics championship game [Updated]

June 16, 2010 | 11:15 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef01157112afc6970b-800wiLos Angeles police will be out in force Thursday for Game 7 of the NBA Finals to try to avoid a repeat of last year when fans outside Staples Center celebrated the Lakers' victory by damaging police cars, setting fires, looting nearby businesses and pelting officers with rocks and bottles.

LAPD officials will not say how many officers will be deployed. But those familiar with the department's planning strategies said the numbers would easily surpass those of 2009 and that officers would move quickly to target agitators bent on destroying property and committing other crimes.

A large contingent of officers also will be deployed along Crenshaw Boulevard in the Leimert Park area.

"It's my hope that whatever the outcome, people will celebrate responsibly, respectfully and lawfully," LAPD Asst. Chief Earl Paysinger said Wednesday.

Police said fans could expect a significant concentration of uniformed and undercover officers at Staples Center. They will move swiftly against any unlawful activity, from motor vehicle violations to illegal vending.

Should the Lakers clinch the NBA championship, tentative plans call for a parade Monday at 11 a.m. beginning at Staples Center and traveling south on Figueroa Boulevard to Jefferson Boulevard.

Early plans do not include a rally at the end of the parade, in contrast to last year when the Lakers appeared at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in front of an estimated crowd of 90,000 people.

The problems last year began after the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in five games, notching their final victory on the road. That did not stop raucous fans from flooding into downtown L.A.

[For the record: An earlier version of this post said the Lakers swept the Orlando Magic in six games. The Lakers beat the Magic, 4 games to 1.]

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Melee after last year's NBA championship. Credit: Los Angeles Times