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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Avs rout Coyotes, advance to semifinals

Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, Nazem Kadri added two goals of his own and Philipp Grubauer stopped all but one shot as the Avs ousted the Coyotes with a resounding 7-1 win Wednesday in Edmonton.

Colorado won Games 4 and 5 of the first-round series by identical 7-1 scores, contests that were much different than the tight opening three games.

Next up for the Avs is a matchup with either Dallas, St. Louis or Vancouver in the Western Conference semifinals. If Dallas wins its series with Calgary, the Stars will be the opponent. If the Flames win then Colorado will face the winner of the Blues-Canucks series.

Dallas currently leads Calgary 3-2, while St. Louis and Vancouver are tied 2-2.

As for Wednesday’s game, it marked the first time in team history Colorado has scored seven goals or more in back-to-back playoff games and the 22 total goals is the most for the Avs in a five-game playoff series.

“Our time has arrived. We haven’t won anything but it’s definitely a different feel after winning this series. We’re a hungry group.”

MacKinnon said after his team’s 7-1 win.
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

Utah blitzed Denver from deep Wednesday, to the tune of 20 made threes, as the Jazz waltzed past the Nuggets 124-105 and evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

Not only did the Jazz make a ton of threes in the game, they did so at an alarming rate of 45%, which unfortunately is the same percentage the Nuggets gave up during the eight seeding games.

“I think it’s a matter of executing the game plan, knowing who you’re guarding, understanding the flow of the game, communication. I’m sure when we watch the film it will be all of the above, to your question.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said when asked what his team can do to slow the Jazz’s three-point shooting barrage.

Utah was once again led by Donovan Mitchell who finished with 30 points on 6-for-7 shooting from deep. Denver was led by Nikola Jokić and Michael Porter Jr. who each finished with 28 points. The only other Nuggets who scored in double figures were Jamal Murray (14) and Monte Morris (10).

The teams are off today before Game 3 on Friday at 2 p.m. (TNT, Altitude).

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
DateTime (MT)Channels
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

Rockies

The Rockies returned home Wednesday, but the results stayed the same as the Astros beat Colorado for the third day in a row, this time by a final score of 13-6.

Colorado has now lost eight of its past 10 games and third baseman Nolan Arenado saw his average fall to .225 after going 0-for-3 Wednesday.

  • Colorado and Houston finish their four-game, home-and-home series this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net) at Coors Field as Germán Márquez (2-3, 2.25 ERA) will try to end the Rockies skid against Houston’s Cristian Javier (2-1, 2.91 ERA).
  • In other news Wednesday the Rockies placed outfielder David Dahl on the 10-day IL due to lower back soreness. To take his place on the roster Colorado recalled top prospect Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers didn’t start, but did come on late and went 1-for-2 and drove in a pair of runs.
    My thoughts: The Rockies need to play Rodgers as much as possible. Put him at second base in place of Ryan McMahon who’s hitting .208 and see what he can do. The season is quickly slipping away, so see if Rodgers can provide a spark. It also would allow the club a chance to see how good Rodgers can be at in the majors.

Broncos

Tight end Jake Butt spoke to the media yesterday and talked about how his recovery from his third ACL tear has gone. Among other things he spoke about how he debated coming back at times during his recovery, but he’s now motivated to earn a spot on the Broncos roster.

  • I wrote yesterday how in the battle for the starting center job Austin Schlottmann has gotten the bulk of the work with the first time. Well, yesterday Schlottmann did start with the first team, but rookie Lloyd Cushenberry got his first chance working with the No. 1 offense later in practice.
  • TheDNVR’s Zac Stevens wrote about how rookies other than Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are starting to step up.
  • Head coach Vic Fangio has been happy with what he’s seen from rookie linebacker Justin Strnad.

Around the globe

Forbes.com released its list of the high-paid female athletes for 2020, amazing the top nine women on the list are all tennis players. Surprisingly, at least to me, Serena Williams checked in at No. 2 on the list behind Naomi Osaka.

The only non-tennis player in the Top 10, at No. 10 is soccer’s Alex Morgan.

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Bats silent again as Rockies lose 2-1 in extras

Rockies

Antonio Senzatela pitched arguably the best game of his major league career, but Colorado’s bats were dormant once again as the Rockies lost to the Astros 2-1 in 11 innings Tuesday in Houston.

Senzatela went toe-to-toe with Zack Greinke as both pitchers threw eight shutout innings allowing three hits a piece, Greinke struck out seven, Senzatela six.

Colorado’s offense has became a major liability at this point and after losing seven of their past nine games the Rockies are now four games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. The Rockies pitching staff owns the second-best ERA in the National League, but as has been the case the past few years the offense continues to struggle.

For the most part the problem is pretty simple, if Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl aren’t hitting the rest of the team can’t pick up the slack. And this year with both Arenado and Dahl struggling for most of the season to date the offense can’t manage to get the job done.

There is a chance the Rockies could add top prospect Brendan Rodgers to the active roster soon.

My thoughts: At this point I would love to see Rodgers play second base and move Ryan McMahon to first and DH or sit Daniel Murphy. Either way the Rockies have to do something soon or else this season’s promising start will be a distant memory by the time September rolls around.

  • The Astros and Rockies square off again tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) in Game 3 of the four-game series. Ryan Castellani (0-0, 1.04 ERA) takes the mound for Colorado against Houston’s Framber Valdez (1-2, 1.90 ERA).

Avalanche

Coming of a dominating 7-1 win on Monday the Avalanche will look to finish off the Coyotes in Game 5 today (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in Edmonton.

Nazem Kadri has been a key piece for the Avs since the NHL started back up. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few weeks since his game-winning goal with 0.01 seconds remaining in the first game back against St. Louis.

Since then the Avs claimed the No. 2 seed in the West and have a 3-1 lead on Arizona, while St. Louis ended up the fourth seed and is currently tied 2-2 in its series with Vancouver. Oh what a difference a thousandth of a second can make.

  • Captain Gabriel Landeskog hasn’t scored a goal yet in Edmonton, but he’s confident he’ll get one soon. And in the meantime he’s creating plenty of scoring chances for the rest of his teammates.
  • Cale Makar said “it definitely means something to me” to see teammates like Nathan MacKinnon have his back after Makar was given a cheap shot near the end of Monday’s game.
  • 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

Denver once again will be without Gary Harris and Will Barton when the Nuggets take on the Jazz today in Game 2 of their first-round series. Barton continues to deal with a knee injury and is out indefinitely.

As for the players who will be on the court for the Nuggets, The Denver Post’s Mike Singer wrote about how rookie Michael Porter Jr. got a crash course in what NBA playoff basketball is like in Game 1.

“In the playoffs, it’s all about defense. The defensive intensity is way up. So being locked in every possession and really realizing every possession matters (is important).”

Porter said about the Nuggets’ 135-125 OT win.

Despite appearing to struggle at times on both ends of the court Porter still finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes in his playoff debut. Not bad for someone playing it just the 56th NBA game of his career.

“Just being out there, learning, going through it, you can’t put a dollar sign on that. That’s the best teacher that Michael is going to have. We can tell him, we can prepare him, but he has to go out there and feel it for himself and learn from it, which I know he will.”

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said about Porter’s debut.
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

Broncos

As the Broncos prepare for the season opener Monday Sept. 14 against Tennessee one of the biggest position battles is that for the starting center job.

Denver has three players vying for the job and combined they have started zero games in the NFL at center. The Post’s Ryan O’Halloran wrote how as of right now it appears Austin Schlottmann has the edge over Patrick Morris and rookie Lloyd Cushenberry.

Ryan makes a great point that during a normal training camp and preseason teams like to ease rookies into starting roles and make them earn the job so to speak. But this year, with zero preseason games and a truncated camp it would make the most sense to have the guy you expect to start get as many reps with the first team as possible.

That’s why he believes Schlottmann has the inside track as he’s taken all the reps with the first team in three of the four workouts so far. Morris did so on Sunday and Cushenberry has not taken any so far.

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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.

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Avalanche Broncos CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Avs win opener with less than a second to play

Avalanche

In one of the most exciting finishes you’ll see in a regulation NHL game the Avs beat the Blues 2-1 on Sunday as Nazem Kadri scored with 0.01 seconds to play in the teams’ first game of robin-round play of the NHL restart in Edmonton.

Obviously, winning is paramount for the Avs, and every team, but even more important is the fact that it happened in regulation. By winning in regulation Colorado earned two points, while St. Louis got zero. Had the game gone to overtime, both teams would have been assured of a point.

After Kadri scored it took officials almost seven minutes to declare it was officially a goal. Replays showed a blurry puck being mostly across the line, but the next frame the clock went to 0.00 when it was clearly across the goal line.

The Avs are now in first place in the Western Conference round-robin, their next game is Wednesday (4:30 p.m.) against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Rockies

It’s hard to believe the Rockies’ season is just over a week old, but with a 6-2 record through eight games Colorado is in first place in the NL West. The Rockies won their third straight series on Sunday by beating the Padres 9-6 behind Antonio Senzatela’s pitching and the bats of Daniel Murphy and Matt Kemp.

Senzatela (2-0) went six innings, struck out six and allowed just one run on four hits and one walk. Murphy went 4-for-4 with a home and two RBI, while Kemp added his second homer of the season and drove in two as well.

Colorado is percentage points ahead of the Dodgers (7-3) in the West standings and one game ahead of the third place Padres.

Colorado welcomes in the San Francisco Giants to Coors Field tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 KOA) with righty Chi Chi González scheduled to make his first start of the season.

Nuggets

After dropping their first game of the NBA restart 125-105 to the Miami Heat on Saturday the Nuggets are back at it again today as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at 2 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).

Denver was without starters Will Barton (knee), Gary Harris (hip) and Jamal Murray (hamstring) in its first game back and both Barton and Harris have already been ruled out of today’s game, while Murray is questionable.

My thoughts: It still is very early, counting today the Nuggets have seven seeding games remaining, but I’m starting to feel more and more like the Nuggets could be one-and-done when it comes playoff time this season.

Every team has had a lot to deal with during the NBA restart, from players opting out to getting guys into and out of the NBA quarantine. It just feels like the Nuggets can’t get any traction built up. And while many people have referred to these seeding games a like the preseason, Denver coach Michael Malone made the great point that the playoffs don’t follow the preseason.

If Denver can’t get everyone on the court in the next few games I fear there simply is not going to be enough time to get in sync before the playoffs start. And with the Western Conference being as deep as it is that’s almost a sure ticket to a first-round exit.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote about how the Nuggets sloppy third quarter against the Heat highlighted the struggles the team is facing as a whole.

Broncos

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio talked about the possibility the team will have live practice periods this month, something hardly ever seen anymore, but without any preseason games it might be a necessity this year.

“Obviously with no preseason games, we’ll lose those evaluation times. It will be a challenge for young players to learn and adapt to the game. … Maybe in practices, we’ll have to have some live action in there on occasion. I’ve never been many places where that’s been done in practice. We just relied on the preseason games for that.”

Vic Fangio told The Denver Post

CU Buffs

Over the weekend it was announced that CU star McKinley Wright will return to Boulder for his senior season with men’s basketball team. Previously Wright had submitted his name for the NBA Draft.

Nationally

Forbes released its annual list of the 50 most valuable sports teams over the weekend. The Top 5 were:
1. Dallas Cowboys ($5.5 billion)

2. New York Yankees ($5 billion)

3. New York Knicks ($4.6 billion)

4. Los Angeles Lakers ($4.4 billion)

5. Golden State Warriors ($4.3 billion)

The Denver Broncos checked in at No. 25 with a valuation of $3 billion. No other Colorado teams made the list, while no NHL teams at were in the Top 50.