Boston Celtics crowned NBA champions
The Boston Celtics have beaten the LA Lakers 131-92 in game six of the NBA finals to wrap up their first championship for 22 years.
Playing in the shadow of 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters, Boston took control of the game in the second quarter and stretched a four-point lead into a 58-35 advantage by the intermission.
Off-season acquisitions Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen each had 26 points to lead the Celtics, Allen hitting seven-of-nine from three-point range. Paul Pierce had 17 points for the Celtics and was named the MVP of the championship series.
A delirious green and white-clad crowd at the Garden roared in unison "Beat L.A." and "Where's Kobe?' from the opening tip until the final buzzer.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant opened quickly but fizzled. The league MVP had 11 points after the opening quarter but only three free throws in the second when the Celtics took command.
He finished with 22 points but hit only seven of 22 shots and committed four turnovers in the rout.
Los Angeles never closed the gap below 23 points after halftime.
The Celtics, with Hall of Famers Bill Russell and John Havlicek looking on, foiled the Lakers' double-team on Pierce by finding the open man along the perimeter for the shot.
The Celtics' defense did its part, shutting down the Lakers' vaunted offense for much of the game and forcing 19 turnovers. The Celtics committed only seven.
Boston built an 89-60 lead by the start of the fourth quarter to put the raucous crowd in a party mood.
The Celtics, who celebrated their last title in 1986 when Bird was the MVP, outrebounded the Lakers at both ends.
At the end of the game, Garnett, who spent 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves without contending for a title, hugged Russell, who won 11 championships during his 13-year career in Boston.
"I got my own, I got my own," he said in Russell's ear