Police warn Lakers fans over NBA championship celebrations

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

LOS ANGELES, June 13 -- Police officials here Saturday warned local fans of the Los Angeles Lakers that security efforts will be in place if the team wins the NBA championship Sunday.

"We have the ability to put together resources very quickly if we go to alert -- to pull resources in from around the city," LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said.

McDonnell told local television channel CBS2 that LAPD would deploy its police officers heavier than usual, and have sufficient resources to deal with whatever comes up.

Overexuberant fans stormed an intersection and vandalized cars Thursday in East Los Angeles following the Lakers' overtime victory over the Orlando Magic, which gave the Los Angeles team a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game 5 will be played Sunday in Orlando, with a Lakers victory there giving the team its 15th NBA championship.

Staples Center, the Lakers' home stadium in Los Angeles, will not show the game on big-screen televisions this year, as had been done in the past, but several large sports bars and restaurants in the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex will be open for business.

Michael Roth, spokesman of Staples Center, said no public viewing facilities would be available at Staples or L.A. Live. He urged fans to stay at home and watch the game there.

Disturbances have followed Lakers championship victories in 2000, 2001 and 2002. It was reported that fans watching the 2002 NBA finals on outdoor giant screens at Staples rampaged down the street, smashing dozens of car windows at nearby auto dealers.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Sheriff Lee also warned Lakers fans not to cause troubles when celebrating their team's victory.

"The Lakers are a sports team, not some kind of a destructive force, and therefore celebrate and enjoy, but don't commit any violence," he told the fans through television.