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Porter, Murray shine in Nuggets’ final scrimmage

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. returned to action during Denver’s final scrimmage on Monday night and in doing so quickly made Nuggets fans remember what they were so excited about earlier this season. Porter scored 19 points (8-of-13 shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.

Another positive development for Denver was point guard Jamal Murray’s return as well. Murray added 23 points (8-of-12) in 25 minutes. The fact that the Nuggets lost 114-110 to Orlando was inconsequential.

Porter, who was dealing with a sprained ankle before the shutdown, said he’s back to full health, both physically and mentally.

“I feel like I’m in a great headspace. I know we got a lot of good players, but my goal, right now, I’m not coming in here just trying to blend in with the team. I’m trying to do my part to help this team win a championship. I think I can be a big part of that.”

Michael Porter Jr.

The next time the Nuggets take the court the game will count again as they face Miami on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN).

Rockies

The Denver Post‘s Patrick Saunders wrote today about how Colorado’s bullpen has been solid after the season’s first three games. He also added that it’s way too early to read too much into things though.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree with Patrick more. He does an excellent job of pointing out that although Rockies relievers allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings, they were in enough trouble that it’s hard to imagine them getting out of it had the games been at Coors Field.

He also pointed out that one of Colorado’s best relievers, Scott Oberg, will miss Friday’s home opener with a sore back and when he’ll return is yet unknown.

  • Next up for Colorado is a quick two-game series in Oakland against the A’s starting tonight (7:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela will start for the Rockies tonight and Germán Márquez is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday (1:40 p.m.).
  • Colorado added first base prospect Michael Toglia to its 2020 player pool, while left-handed reliever Tim Collins withdrew from Colorado’s satellite camp and will not pitch this season.
    Toglia was the Rockies first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
  • Former Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw blamed his struggles in Colorado on Coors Field.

“I got there and the sliders didn’t work. It didn’t matter what we did. We tried to tinker with it. We tried to change it. We tried to do different stuff and it just basically fell by the wayside.”

Bryan Shaw to The Seattle Times

Avalanche

Things are ramping up quickly as the NHL gets ready for its restart. The Avalanche arrived in Edmonton, host city for the Western Conference playoffs, on Sunday and had their first practice on Monday.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar is impressed with the setup so far.

“Every team has their own players lounge/lunch/dinner room. We’ve been in there a couple times and there are some commons areas as well, to be able to go hang out and mingle. It is a really nice setup. And being right across the rink from where you’re (going to be) playing is great.”

Jared Bednar via Zoom

Colorado has an exhibition game against Minnesota on Wednesday (12:30 p.m., Altitude) before opening up round-robin play on Sunday vs. St. Louis (4:30 p.m.).

Broncos

The Broncos cornerbacks and safeties were front and center as both The Denver Post and TheDNVR.com wrote about them. And with good reason, there’s a lot of questions when it comes to the Broncos secondary.

My thoughts: Overall I like what Denver did this offseason. It’ll be weird seeing Chris Harris in a Chargers jersey this season, but it was the right move to make. He’d lost a step or two and just wasn’t the same player he was during most of his time in Denver.

The trade for A.J. Bouye was a nice addition and he likely will be a solid upgrade over Harris. The big question is, what will the Broncos get from Bryce Callahan this season? I’m cautiously optimistic that his foot injury will be behind him and he’ll be able to fill a big hole at cornerback.

Unfortunately it’s also highly possible he won’t be able to bounce back and we’ll look back on that signing as one of the worst in Broncos’ history.

  • Denver cut eight players on Monday and still must release two more today. Waived were: QB Riley Neal, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Kelvin McKnight, LB Tre’ Crawford, OL Nico Falah and DBs Kahani Smith and Shakial Taylor. DE Joel Heath was released.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider took a stab at predicting the Broncos opening 53-man roster.
  • Meanwhile, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla already is wondering if we’re even going to have an NFL season after the problems baseball is having after its opening weekend.
  • TheAthletic.com released its Quarterback Tiers Rankings. Quarterbacks are ranked by 50 coaches and evaluators and end up in one of five different tiers.
    Where did Denver’s Drew Lock end up? That would be the fourth tier, in a tie for 30th with Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. There were only 35 QBs who were on the list. However, one of the 50 voters did rank Lock in the second tier.

Sports betting

Last week Wildwood Casino became the first casino to open a retail sportsbook in Cripple Creek.

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Rapids lose, Rockies make moves and more

A look at the latest news with the Rapids, Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, CU men’s basketball and more for Saturday, July 18.

Rapids

Well, at least the Rapids made it exciting in their MLS is Back Tournament match against Sporting Kansas City on Friday night, unfortunately Colorado fell 3-2.

The Rapids took an early 1-0 lead just six minutes in, but in the second half things got a little crazy. Danny Wilson got a red card in the 61st minute and Kansas City tied the score shortly thereafter. Then the Jack Price was sent off just a little while after that. Playing down two men the Rapids allowed another goal to fall behind 2-1.

Colorado wasn’t done yet though, despite playing 9-on-11 Jonathan Lewis netted the equalizer in the 84th minute. It was all for naught though as Sporting added its third goal during stoppage time to pick up the win.

Next up for the Rapids is likely their final game of the tournament on Wednesday against Minnesota United FC.

Rockies

I wrote yesterday about how the Rockies needed to be careful with how they use relievers Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee this season. If either reached a certain number of appearances their contracts for 2021 would become player options. Well, the Rockies made sure that wasn’t going to happen as they released both pitchers on Friday.

Colorado signed Shaw and McGee to matching 3-year, $27 million deals after the 2017 season. The Rockies will have to pay both players 2020 salaries, as well as their $2 million buyouts for next year.

My thoughts: It can be hard to predict how relievers will fare from year to year, which made the signings so questionable at the time. Obviously, in hindsight, they were in fact pretty terrible signings by general manager Jeff Bridich, but at least they finally decided enough is enough.

I wonder if Colorado would have been willing to do the same if this was a regular year and they were on the hook for the entire $18 million for both players. Because remember, with the shortened season the players salaries are equally reduced.

  • In other news, the Rockies announced right-hander Daniel Bard will make the team as well as outfielder Matt Kemp and utilityman Chris Owings. Bard hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in seven years.
  • In Friday’s scrimmage Charlie Blackmon looked sharp. He singled in his first at-bat and then added a home run to right off Antonio Senzetela.
  • The Athletic broke down all the Friday news as well.

Nuggets

This should be an exciting time for Nuggets fan, unfortunately the question of who’s available to play when the NBA restarts at the end of this month makes it much less so.

Earlier this week Troy Daniel estimated there were 8-to-10 players in Orlando, but no one has officially said who all is missing. The Denver Post has a list of all the players confirmed to be down there: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Noah Vonleh, Tyler Cook, Mason Plumle, Jerami Grant, Daniels and Bol Bol.

My thoughts: This just feels like such a Nuggets thing to have happen. For a team that’s never moved up in the NBA Lottery, watched stars leave as free agents and suffered its fair share of career ending injuries to its stars, nothing really surprises me.

It’s going to be a crazy postseason, and as much as I think one of the L.A. teams will come out of the West, the Nuggets still would have a chance if they were firing on all cylinders. But if they’re short-handed just getting out of the first round will be an accomplishment.

Broncos

The Athletic breaks down what’s next for the Broncos and Justin Simmons, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract this week.

CU Buffs men’s basketball

Colorado added it’s second commit for the 2021 class in the form of four-star Quincy Allen. Allen is one of the top players in the country, he’s ranked No. 48 overall by 247Sports.

Allen is a 6-foot-7 forward and reportedly had offers from at least 16 other schools including Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse and Michigan.

According to 247Sports rankings the Buffs now have the No. 6 recruiting class in the country for 2021. CU’s other commit for the class is No. 70th ranked Lawson Lovering, also a four-star.

Golf

The Colorado Open at Green Valley Ranch starts next Thursday, July 23 and yesterday it added three big-name players to the field: Jennifer Kupcho, Chris DiMarco and Brandon McManus.

Kupcho is from Westminster and is currently on the LPGA Tour. She won the Colorado Women’s Open earlier this year and will be the second woman to play in the tournament.

DiMarco is a former PGA Tour player, who’s biggest claim to fame is losing to Tiger Woods in the 2005 Masters. That’s the one Tiger chipped in on the 16th hole, before eventually beating DiMarco in a playoff.

And McManus is obviously the Denver Broncos kicker. According to The Denver Post he’s a 2.2 handicap and coming off a 37th-place finish in the American Century Celebrity Tournament last week in Lake Tahoe.

Unfortunately, if you were hoping to go watch the action next week, you won’t be able to. The event is closed to fans due to COVID-19.