Larry Mantle |

Riding the Lakers roller coaster is quite a trip

Whether it's Ron Artest thanking his psychiatrist, Kobe Bryant admitting that he wanted to win Game 7 so badly that he couldn't get untracked offensively, or destructive fans taking to the streets -- the Lakers are never short on drama.

I've been a Laker fan since the 1969-70 season, when the Knicks and Willis Reed broke our local hearts. Even with the team's many successes since, it's impossible to forget the times the team didn't quite make it to the championship.

A Laker-Celtic series crystallizes that full range of Laker fan emotions. For it to come down to a seventh game focuses the intensity all the more. I don't know about you, but I was beside myself from tip-off to the end. The combination of great defense and too-tense, incompetent offense made it tough to watch.

Those of us who are Laker fans can exhale and celebrate -- until next season, and its high expectations, get us going again.

I'll be vacationing next week in southern Utah at its great national parks. If you've done that trip and have any suggestions, please post them here. I'll check them out as we go.