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Porter calls out coaches, teammates after Nuggets’ 96-85 loss Wednesday

The Nuggets lost to the Clippers 96-85 in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night in Orlando, but it’s what happened after the game that quickly became the bigger story.

Denver rookie Michael Porter Jr. scored 15 points in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting, he finished the game with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting. After the game he was asked what he needed to do in the second half to get more involved and here was his response:

“I just didn’t touch the ball. They didn’t do anything differently. … That is up to the playcalling, the coaches and whose hands they want to put the ball in. We kept going to (Nikola Jokić) and (Jamal Murray) and they are two amazing players, but I just think to beat them we need to get more players involved. We have to move the ball a little bit better. We can’t be predictable against that team.”

It didn’t stop there though as Porter went on to say he’s going to talk to the coaches about the plan going forward.

“I think if I am going to be out there on the floor playing a lot of minutes, I think I should voice that. I will probably talk to the coaches and tell them what I see being out there on the floor just letting them know, look, they know what we are doing. We have to swing the ball. We have a lot of players that can play basketball and score, so we have to get some more guys involved.”

Porter said.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard voiced his displeasure on Twitter with what Porter said after the game in a series of tweets, including this one, talking about whether Porter’s assessment was correct, just handled poorly:

Clippers stifle Denver offense

As for the actual game, Denver was thoroughly shut down as L.A.’s Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley held Murray to 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting, along with seven assists and four turnovers.

Jokić still had a solid game for the Nuggets, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds. But it was no match for Leonard who nearly had a triple double with 30 points, 11 boards and nine assists.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t mince words either after the game, saying:

“We have to be a hell of a lot better on offense. I have to help our guys more. They’re just dogging and hounding Jamal Murray everywhere. It’s been really hard to get him open for quality looks. … We worked so hard for everything we tried to get, and obviously we’re struggling to make shots right now”

Another comeback in store?

The Nuggets once again are trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, but this Clippers team is on a completely different level than that of the Utah Jazz who the Nuggets rallied to beat in seven games.

Obviously anything is possible, but at this point if the Nuggets can manage to eek out a win in Game 5 and force a Game 6 before bowing out of this year’s NBA playoffs that appears to be the most positive outcome remaining.

Nuggets-Clippers Game 4 highlights

Nuggets-Clippers results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Clippers 120, Nuggets 97Box score
Game 2Nuggets 110, Clippers 101Box score
Game 3Clippers 113, Nuggets 107Box score
Game 4Clippers 96, Nuggets 85Box score
Game 5Nuggets 111, Clippers 105Box score
Game 6Nuggets 111, Clippers 98Box score
Game 7Nuggets 104, Clippers 89Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series 4-3

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Nuggets Uncategorized

Nuggets no match for Clippers in Game 1

The Nuggets and Clippers were tied after the first quarter in Thursday night’s opening game of the Western Conference semifinals, from that point on L.A. outscored Denver by 23 and rolled to an easy 120-97 win.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokić struggled on both ends of the floor in the loss as he finished with just 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. While first-round series star Jamal Murray shot 5-for-15 from the field and ended with 12 points, six assist and three boards.

You can say whatever, it’s gonna be true. It was a bad, bad night for us. But we can change, we can be better.”

Jokić said after the loss.

Clippers at full strength

As for the Clippers, Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers had his entire roster intact for just the 13th time the season and the first since arriving to the NBA bubble.

Guard Patrick Beverley returned after missing the final five games of L.A.’s first-round series against Dallas. Marcus Morris was no longer having to try and keep up with Dallas’ Luka Dončić and stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were in a rhythm early.

“I thought we just locked into our assignments. To be honest, that’s the best we’ve done so far against an opponent. Our attention to detail was great and we followed the game plan … It just took us to lock in tonight and come here and do what we needed to do. There’s no sugar-coating answer or no headline answer. We just locked into what we needed to do, And that was enough for us to play with energy and effort. We just knew what our job was tonight and we executed it.”

George said after the Clippers win in Game 1.

Nuggets fell into L.A.’s trap

According to Nuggets forward Paul Millsap Denver was unable to adjust to the Clippers pressure defense.

“They get up in you, they take you out of the flow of your offense, and they make you take one-on-one or contested shots and we fell right into their trap.”

Millsap said.

Meanwhile, Nuggets coach Michael Malone was much more concerned with the Nuggets inability to guard on the defensive end and for teammates to help out when needed.

“Can we contain one-on-one, and can we guard the paint?. A guy gets beat, where’s our help?”

Malone said.

Nuggets-Clippers Game 1 highlights

Tip-ins

As TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote, after getting blown out in Game 1 the Nuggets need to find answers and energy as well.

  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote that there was no defending the way Jokić played in Thursday’s opener.
  • In other NBA news Thursday, Memphis’ Ja Morant was named the Kia Rookie of the Year. Miami’s Kendrick Nunn finished second and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson was third.
    I was a little surprised Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. didn’t even get a single third-place vote, considering players like Eric Paschall (Golden State), Terence Davis II (Toronto) and RJ Barrett (New York) did.

Nuggets-Clippers results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Clippers 120, Nuggets 97Box score
Game 2Nuggets 110, Clippers 101Box score
Game 3Clippers 113, Nuggets 107Box score
Game 4Clippers 96, Nuggets 85Box score
Game 5Nuggets 111, Clippers 105Box score
Game 6Nuggets 111, Clippers 98Box score
Game 7Nuggets 104, Clippers 89Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series 4-3

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Late-game scoring barrage leads Avs to 3-0 Game 1 win

Avalanche

Colorado dominated Game 1 of its first-round playoff series against Arizona on Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton, but the game was still scoreless more than halfway through the third period and then the floodgates opened. Nazem Kadri scored a power-play goal at the 13:05 mark, 10 seconds later J.T. Compher put the Avalanche up 2-0 and Mikko Rantanen added the final goal just over a minute later as the Avs won 3-0.

In all Colorado scored three goals in span of 1:23, the third fastest three-goal barrage in Avs’ playoff history.

“It is just a momentum builder, I think. We have seen games in the playoffs before – a team dominates and the opposition still be in the game and able to scrape out wins. It was just a matter of time. Their goaltender played great and gave their team an opportunity to win, but that being said, we just stayed relentless, stayed on the puck and we knew it was going to come sooner or later.”

Nazem Kadri said after the game.

Overshadowed by the late-game scoring binge was Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer who stopped all 14 shots he faced to earn his second career playoff shutout. With the win he also moved into sole possession of second place on Colorado’s all-time playoff wins list with nine. He’s only slightly behind leader Patrick Roy who won 81 playoff games and two Stanley Cup titles with the Avalanche.

The best-of-seven series resumes with Game 2 on Friday at noon (NHL Network, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal posted his Avs’ player grades, and despite the 3-0 win, there’s no doubt Colorado could play even better going forward.
  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote about how Colorado’s play in Game 1 shows that they have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
  • The 14 shots allowed by Colorado was a playoff record low for the team.
DateTime (MT)Home team
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
Remaining schedule in Avalanche-Coyotes first-round series.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton.

Nuggets

On Wednesday night the Nuggets once again decided to rest their starters for the bulk of the fourth quarter and in doing so lost to the Clippers 124-111 and set themselves up with a first-round matchup against their division rival Jazz.

The Nuggets loss locked them into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference meaning they’ll face sixth-seeded Utah in the best-of-seven first round series.

As for Wednesday night’s game, Denver clearly was more interested in keeping guys fresh for the playoffs as nine players logged more than 19 minutes, with Nikola Jokić and Jerami Grant leading the way with 28 minutes a piece. Grant led the team in scoring (25 points), while Jokić had 17 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

My thoughts: Not only did the Nuggets sweep the season series against Utah, but based on the other possible matchup I don’t think Denver could ask for a better first-round opponent. Had the Nuggets won their final two games and the Clippers lost both of theirs, Denver would have faced a Dallas team lead by Luka Dončić.

The Jazz are a tough team, and the Nuggets will have to play well to win the best-of-seven series, but they should. I’m not sure the same would have been true against the Mavericks.

  • Head coach Michael Malone is hopeful that Denver can get injured players Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) back for the team’s series against Utah. Both Harris and Barton were starters before the break in the NBA season, the question is whether they’ll both remain so when the return. Doing so most likely would mean sitting down Michael Porter Jr. who has been stellar during the seeding games.
  • Only one NBA playoff spot still is up for grabs, with the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzles, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers all battling for the right to take on the top-seeded Lakers in Round 1 of the Western Conference playoffs. All four teams play today, so we’ll know the two teams who will face off in the play-in by the end of the night.

Rockies

Nolan Arenado homered twice, but it wasn’t enough to stop Colorado from losing its first series of the season as the Rockies’ bullpen got hammered in a 13-7 loss to Arizona on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

Charlie Blackmon saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end as he went 0-for-4, his batting average is still a remarkable .472.

The score was tied at 5 going into the seventh inning, then reliever Tyler Kinley came on and gave five runs on four hits and a walk, while failing to record an out. Yency Almonte replaced him and give up three more runs, all unearned, before the inning ended with Colorado trailing 13-5.

The Rockies (12-6) are still in first place in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Dodgers (12-7).

  • Colorado is off today before welcoming in Texas for a three-game series starting Friday (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) when Ryan Castellani (0-0, 0.00 ERA) faces the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.16 ERA).
  • Daniel Bard’s return to the big leagues this season has been well documented, but his stats this season are arguably even more impressive so far.
  • The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders answered readers questions including what the Rockies need to do to beat the Dodgers this season and the latest on prospect Brendan Rodgers.

Broncos

TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason wrote about how the Broncos will find leadership from both older and younger players alike this season.

  • Meanwhile, for you draft junkies out there, ESPN.com’s Todd McShay released his early first-round predictions for the 2021 NFL draft. He had the Broncos selecting Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi with the 12th pick overall.

Colleges

Buffzone.com has tons of coverage about the Pac-12’s decision to postpone all sports until 2021. Their stories include CU athletics likely to layoff and furlough employees, but not cut sports, football head coach Karl Dorrell looking forward after the postponement and parents dealing with mixed emotions over the announcement.