Nearly 10 months after Denver’s regular season began the playoffs have finally arrived as the Nuggets take on the Jazz in Game 1 of the teams’ first-round series today (11:30 a.m., ESPN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in Orlando.
The Nuggets swept the season series (3-0) with Utah, but the three games were decided by a total of 11 points, so don’t expect a cakewalk for Nikola Jokić and company.
Denver did receive good news of sorts over the weekend though as Utah starting point guard Mike Conley left the NBA bubble in Orlando for the birth of his son. Due to the NBA’s quarantine protocols Conley is expected to miss at least Games 1 and 2 of the series.
To get your covered on everything Nuggets-Jazz, here’s a roundup of everything being written about the series.
- TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares has a great, in-depth breakdown, with plenty of game video, looking at the key battlegrounds in the series.
- At TheAthletic.com Joe Vardon wrote about team-by-team observations, one of his notes on the Nuggets was that during the training camp portion of life in the bubble Paul Millsap golfed nearly everyday.
- TheAthletic also has an article with an anonymous scout, coach and exec who pick first-round series winners. All three picked the Nuggets to advance. TheAthletic’s John Hollinger also made his picks and thinks the Nuggets will advance in six games.
- The Denver Post published its Nuggets playoff guide today and in it they wrote about Michael Porter Jr. and why he has a playoff advantage. As well as five things to watch in the series, how Denver is more confident this year after last season’s playoff experience and Mike Singer also wrote about how the Nuggets have backed up their commitment to social justice while in the bubble.
- My thoughts: It’s been a long time since the Nuggets were legitimate favorites heading into a playoff series, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t get past the Jazz in five or six games. With Conley being out for the Jazz that makes these first couple games pivotal, Denver needs to win each game he misses and put Utah away as early as possible.
I want to believe, but I definitely worry about them stumbling a little and having to go seven games, just like last year. Unfortunately, this year they don’t have the home crowd to help if that does happen. I’ll pick them to win in six games.
- Nuggets-Jazz schedule
|Mon., Aug. 17||11:30 a.m.||ESPN, Altitude|
|Wed., Aug. 19||2 p.m.||TNT, Altitude|
|Fri., Aug. 21||2 p.m.||TNT, Altitude|
|Sun., Aug. 23||7 p.m.||TNT, Altitude|
|*Tue., Aug. 25||TBD||TBD, Altitude|
|*Thur., Aug. 27||TBD||TBD, Altitude|
|Sat., Aug. 29||TBD||TBD, Altitude|
Shortly after the Nuggets-Jazz game ends the Avalanche face a pivotal Game 4 (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in their first-round series against Arizona. Colorado leads the series 2-1, a win would push the Coyotes to the brink of elimination, while a loss would tie the series at 2-2.
TheAthletic’s Ryan S. Clark and Kevin Kurz wrote about how the Avs did all the right things during their loss in Game 3, but unfortunately for Colorado so did Arizona.
- Through three games it’s clear that Colorado is the better team overall, but with Darcy Kuemper in net for Arizona it could be a problem for the Avs according to The Post’s Mark Kiszla.
- My thoughts: A hot goalie in hockey is sometimes all a team needs to win a playoff series. Kuemper has been outstanding so far for Arizona, but I think the Avs are just too good overall for him to pull Arizona back.
The only thing that could change that would be if Philipp Grubauer struggles in net today and the Avs are faced with a goalie controversy. I don’t foresee that happening. Avs still should close out the series in five games.
- Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
|Game 1||Colorado 3, Arizona 0|
|Game 2||Colorado 3, Arizona 2|
|Game 3||Arizona 4, Colorado 2|
|Date||Time (MT)||Home team||Channel|
|Mon., Aug. 17||3:30 p.m.||Arizona||NBCSN, Alt.|
|Wed., Aug. 19||TBD||Colorado||TBD, Alt.|
|*Fri., Aug. 21||TBD||Arizona||TBD, Alt.|
|*Sun., Aug. 23||TBD||Colorado||TBD, Alt.|
Outfielder Raimel Tapia had three hits and Jon Gray pitched seven solid innings as the Rockies ended their three-game losing streak by beating Texas 10-6 on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field.
It was a get-right game for the Rockies and one they hope gets them back on the winning track after Colorado had lost five of its past six games.
Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3 in the win, ending a mini-slump of sorts after being one of the hottest hitters in baseball. And Ryan McMahon added a three-run homer for the Rockies as well.
- Sunday wasn’t all good news for the Rockies unfortunately, right-handed reliever Carlos Estévez recorded the final out of the game, but it took getting hit by a comebacker to do so. Estévez replaced Jairo Díaz in the ninth inning after Díaz walked three, including two with the bases loaded. Rockies manager Bud Black said it was too early to know the extent of Estévez’s injury.
My thoughts: No matter what the situation is with Estévez, the Rockies need to get Díaz out of the closer’s role and put Daniel Bard in it. Díaz was hurt by a McMahon error on Sunday, but Bard clearly has shown that he’s the best person for the job right now.
- It’s a big week for the Rockies as they open a four-game series in Houston today (7:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) before heading to L.A. to take on the Dodgers for three straight starting Friday.
- Left Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.45 ERA) takes the mound tonight for Colorado against Houston’s Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.76 ERA).
With Training Camp in full swing TheDNVR’s Andrew Mason looked at whether the Broncos will be able to keep running backs Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon happy this season with only so many carries and playing time to go around.
- TheAthletic’s Nick Kosmider wrote about why Year 2 could be a big leap for tight end Noah Fant.
- The Post’s Kyle Newman wrote about linebacker Todd Davis and how Davis, entering a contract year, wants “to be a top-tier linebacker in the league.”
Bad news for CU and CSU writes The Post’s Sean Keeler, as according the recruiting experts the Buffs had a bad week, but for the Rams it was even worse.
- Meanwhile up in Fort Collins receiver Warren Jackson announced he’s forgoing his senior season, if there is one in the spring, to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
- While in Boulder Tristan da Silva’s arrival completes the men’s basketball roster for the 2021 season, once again, if there is one.