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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Avs rout Coyotes, take 3-1 series lead

Avalanche

The Colorado offense exploded for seven goals in a 7-1 Game 4 rout of Arizona on Monday, leaving the Avalanche one game away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Matt Nieto got things started for the Avs late in the first period and then Nazem Kadri added two goals of his own before the first intermission to give Colorado a 3-0 lead. Joonas Donskoi added one in the second and then a trio of goals in the third came from Cale Makar, Matt Calvert and Mikko Rantanen as Colorado scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since 2002.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was almost single-handedly keeping the Coyotes in the series, was replaced to start the third period.

“It was nice to get a few past him. We didn’t change anything, honestly. We just got some bounces. We know we’re one of the best goal-scoring teams in the league this year, so try to stick with it. We’re such a deep team that eventually it was going to go in.”

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said about Kuemper.

The Avs will try to close out the series on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • MacKinnon got into a scuffle late in the game with Arizona’s Christian Fischer after Makar was roughed up on a dangerous hit by Lawson Crouse. MacKinnon threw Fischer to the ice and delivered a couple punches as well, Calvert had this to say about the fight:
    “I think Fischer cross-checked the wrong guy in the face. You saw what Nate did to him. He absolutely manhandled him. Probably could have thrown 10 punches and knocked him out. I’m glad he didn’t throw the punches … They try to get to him and he’s just bigger than them.”
  • The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers had five takeaways from Game 4, including how important Kadri has been to Colorado so far in the postseason.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his Game 4 grades, not surprisingly a lot of the Avs got pretty high marks.
  • Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0Box score
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2Box score
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2Box score
Game 4Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Game 5Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Colorado wins best-of-seven series 4-1

Nuggets

Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points, the third most in NBA playoff history, but it wasn’t enough as Jamal Murray stole the show late and the Nuggets rallied to beat the Jazz 135-125 in overtime in Game 1 Monday.

Only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61) have scored more points in a single playoff game than Mitchell did.

Murray scored 36 points for Denver, including 10 in the extra period to help secure the win. As for Mitchell’s performance, when asked after the game Denver’s Nikola Jokić summed it up perfectly, “Not good for us.”

Fortunately, Jokić was plenty good for the Nuggets too, he finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the win. Jokić did miss a running hook shot at the end of regulation that would have won it for Denver.

But it was Murray who won this one for Denver. With less than four minutes to play in the fourth he had just 16 points, but during the final 8:13 of the game he went off for 20 points, grabbed three rebounds and added two assists.

“No fans, it was a lot of trash talking, good trash talking. It was fun, and that’s how us basketball players like it when you can go at each other respectfully and see who’s got more bullets.”

Murray said after the Nuggets thrilling Game 1 overtime win.

Game 2 of the series is Wednesday at 2 p.m. (TNT, Altitude).

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Game 3Utah 124, Denver 87Box score
Game 4Utah 129, Denver 127Box score
Game 5Denver 117, Utah 107Box score
Game 6Denver 1197, Utah 107Box score
Game 7Denver 80, Utah 78Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series tied 4-3

Rockies

Left Kyle Freeland continued his redemption tour with a solid six-inning outing in Houston, but the Rockies offense managed just two hits in a 2-1 loss to the Astros on Monday night.

Freeland now has quality starts in all five of his outings this season, tied for the second-longest streak to begin a season in franchise history. He’s got a long way to go to catch the record holder though, that would be Ubaldo Jiménez who had 14 in a row to start the 2010 season.

Colorado’s lone run came on a solo homer by Trevor Story in the third inning. It also was Colorado’s only hit until Charlie Blackmon led off the ninth with a single.

“It hurts when (Freeland) goes out there and does his job and the bullpen does, too, but we couldn’t do what we needed to do offensively. It’s on us.”

Story said of the offense’s inability to score more than one run Monday.

Story’s home run was the 130th of his career, tying him with Matt Holliday for 10th on the Rockies’ all-time home runs list.

  • Game 2 of the teams’ four-game series is this afternoon at 1:10 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.91 ERA) gets the start for Colorado against Houston’s Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.53 ERA).
  • The Rockies got some good news Monday as Carlos Estévez did not break his hand after being hit by a comebacker at the end of Sunday’s game. As of right now Estévez will avoid the injured list.
  • Colorado did make a move before the game though, placing backup catcher Elias Díaz on the restricted list for violating team rules and protocols. Manager Bud Black would not elaborate on what the specific violation was. Right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau was recalled to replace Díaz on the roster.

Broncos

Head coach Vic Fangio described his team’s first padded practice, which lasted just 90 minutes, as “just OK.”

Tight end Austin Fort, coming back from knee surgery, missed his third day of practice and appears to be headed towards injured reserve. The Broncos are scheduled to practice again today.

  • TheDNVR’s Ryan Koenigsberg wrote about why Monday’s practice was important for quarterback Drew Lock.
  • Lock meanwhile talked about being committed to being cautious when it comes to COVID-19.
  • TheAthletic looked at which non-playoff teams from last season have the best chance of making the postseason this year. They apparently don’t like the Broncos chances, as they ranked Denver No. 11 just ahead of the Chargers and behind the Falcons, Rams, Cardinals and Raiders among others. The Cowboys topped the list.

CU Buffs

CU men’s basketball player Evan Battey will represent Colorado on inaugural National Association of Basketball Coaches Player Development Coalition. Battey is one of 11 players named to the group which will meet four times a year and provide feedback about various issues facing basketball players.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Nuggets-Jazz open NBA playoffs today at 11:30 a.m.

Nuggets

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
DateTime (MT)Channels
Mon., Aug. 1711:30 a.m.ESPN, Altitude
Wed., Aug. 192 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Fri., Aug. 212 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Sun., Aug. 237 p.m.TNT, Altitude
*Tue., Aug. 25TBDTBD, Altitude
*Thur., Aug. 27TBDTBD, Altitude
Sat., Aug. 29TBDTBD, Altitude
*If necessary, all games played on neutral court in Orlando

Avalanche

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
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2
Colorado leads best-of-seven series 2-1
DateTime (MT)Home teamChannel
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.ArizonaNBCSN, Alt.
Wed., Aug. 19TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizonaTBD, Alt.
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Rockies

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).

Broncos

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.

Colleges

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.