It’s Potpourri Time

It’s potpourri time.

For those few who are not familiar with this French word, it means a mixture of things, especially a musical or literary medley.

We’ll skip the musical side and go right to the literary.

The NHL and NBA playoffs have been underway and they are not short and to the point.

They take a long time to play out and they should.

To crown a champion in hockey and basketball those who earn a post-season berth deserve their shot.

Teams involved all have their peaks and valleys.

Even the very best.

So much is put on home ice or home court advantage that I feel can be overrated.

For example, in the one rare instance I was tuned to one of those talk shows that spend agonizing amounts of time dealing with issues surrounding a particular series, the question was, who had the most pressure, the Knicks who had won the first game against the Pacers at home, or the Pacers?

In other words, was the pressure on the Knicks, in the NBA playoffs, who needed to go up 2-0 facing two games on the road, or the Pacers, who would be going home facing an 0-2 deficit?

Are you kidding me?

I don’t care if the next two games would be played on Mars.

If you’re trailing by two games in a best-of-seven series, you have problems.

As it’s turned out, the Knicks have had three critical injuries to key starters, and were blown out by 32 points in game 3.

They have been trying to protect a slim series lead, and are no longer the favorites to advance to the east finals.

By now the series may be history.

In the NBA playoffs, it is unusual for an underdog to beat a strong favorite in a series where the first to win four games is the victor.

In the college championship, one bad game and you’re out.

One and done.

That’s why the better teams usually prevail.

Unless, of course, injuries crop up.

Then, it’s a crap shoot.

Back in 1989, when I was at the mike for the NBA Finals on CBS, the Lakers faced the Pistons for the title.

But LA’s starting guards, Magic Johnson and Byron Scott both suffered hamstring injuries. Scott never played in the Finals, the great Magic was not close to being himself.

The Pistons swept the Lakers in four straight.

Moral of the story?  Stay healthy.

While we’re on the NBA, the defending world champion Denver Nuggets have been tested by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The big difference there is the presence of the best player in the league, MVP Nikola Jokic, the huge do-it-all superstar.

Denver should outlast Minnesota, and the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder should comeback against the Dallas Mavericks.

In the east, waiting in the wings are the Boston Celtics, easily the cream of the NBA crop this season.

Is there any reason to think they won’t win the championship?

We’ll let it play out and time will tell.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say in again, there is nothing better than watching the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

To put it simply they always deliver.

The top two teams in the east and the west are leading their respective series, so it’s all going according to form at this point.

That would translate into a Vancouver-Dallas west showdown, and a New York Rangers-Florida Panthers east battle for the Cup Finals.

Whoever survives, no one will be disappointed watching those games.

It’s funny how the cast of characters who made the New England Patriots into the NFL’s all-time dynasty remain the subject of conversation even though the Patriots have fallen in recent years.

The documentary, titled “Dynasty” brought out the reported bad feeling between owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

The ten-part series was sensational in its portrayal of the resentments all of the top figures had regarding each other.

It’s always easy, in fact, it is almost a cliche, to bring out the negatives of a franchise that set a tone that I feel will never be replicated.

In fact, much of what was covered has been dispelled by those involved.

Poetic license was easy to take, like the documentary a few years ago on the Lakers, which portrayed General Manager Jerry West as an incompetent executive.

I knew that wasn’t the case, in fact the opposite was true concerning West, and I had to chuckle at some of the conclusions of the relationships between Brady and Belichick and Belichick and Kraft.

Are there strong disagreements, even occasional rifts among those who lead successful sports teams, even businesses?

Of course.

But they put apparently put them aside enough to dominate their sport for nearly 20 years.

Belichick, naturally, has been attacked lately for not producing the past couple of years, and for not getting a head coaching post after the 2024 season.

He’s been labeled a boring, no personality man whose time as a coach has passed.

We don’t know, yet, as far as his coaching goes.

But audiences have learned what most of us, who are familiar with the man know, that he is the opposite of what the media and the fans think.

Belichick never offered much to the media and was, almost comically short, with his answers to questions.

He never was going to give them ammunition when they wrote, and his style got the job done.

But the sense of humor Belichick possesses has been revealed in the TV spots he’s been on, as well as his unique knowledge of the game.

It’s been announced that Belichick will appear in the first quarter of every Monday Night football game hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning.

The ManningCast has been an alternative choice to simply watching the game broadcast in the usual fashion.

I personally won’t want to miss the ex-coach’s appearances on those shows.

Then there is the Tom Brady Roast which was much heralded last week.

Without going into details and enumerations of the names of the celebrities and former teammates of Brady’s, I was disappointed in the program.

Once upon a time, there were televised “roasts” of celebrities, which carried some funny material and expected insults of the subject, all in good nature.

The old Dean Martin Roast of big-name show business figures was the most prominent.

Probably few today recall that program.

This particular “roast” of Brady was filled with personal insults that crossed the line. Many of the “jokes” dealt with situations of people in his life that were not only not humorous, but cruel.

They were met with laughs on the show, of course, but to many viewing, myself included,  it was an uncomfortable experience.

I am amazed at what counts as funny these days.

Outright comments that touch a nerve, and foul language which seems to always draw the anticipated gufffaws, rules the roost.

Interesting, in a time when the slightest remark, not said just the right way, can draw protest and indignation.

This coming week, the second golf major will be held at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. The PGA Championship.

Last week, Rory McIlroy staged a brilliant comeback, gaining eight strokes in eight holes to overcome Xander Schauffle and capture his fourth Wells Fargo Championship.

Now he will attempt to win his fifth major, ironically on the same course he won his last, way back in 2014.

He has contended so many times since, but has fallen short each disheartening time.

Something always happens to Rory, if not early, then down the stretch of a major.

Can he finally break through and end his major championship nightmare?

That, and the continuing saga of the incredible play of Scottie Scheffler, will be the major stories to watch.

I’m hooked.