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Nuggets

Nuggets searching for answers after Game 3 pounding

In arguably their worst performance of not only this season, but the past few seasons the Nuggets were completely outmatched by the Jazz 124-87 on Friday afternoon in Orlando. With the win Utah leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

After the game Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said “Our group has to be a lot more mentally tough.”

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla went so far as to say Nikola Jokić was a joke and and without him the Nuggets have no shot in this series.

When asked why Jokić seemed so disengaged during the game Malone responded, “That would be a great question for Nikola.”

My thoughts: As bad as Game 3 was, it still is just one game of a seven-game series. If the Nuggets can rebound and win Sunday to tie things up at 2-2 it won’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

If however they continue to get obliterated for the rest of the series then serious questions will need to be asked. I tend to not read too much into things during this strange postseason.

The one thing I do wonder, is whether there possibly could be more going on with Will Barton than just a knee injury. He left the bubble this week and it feels like the team has fallen apart since he did so.

The two events could be unrelated, but it at least bears watching.

Nuggets-Jazz results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Game 3Utah 124, Denver 87Box score
Utah leads best-of-seven series 2-1
DateTime (MT)Channels
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
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Gray faces Padres in Rockies’ home opener

Rockies

It’s the last day of July and even though there won’t be fans in the stands or packing the streets of LoDo like most years, today still is the Rockies home opener. As such The Denver Post looked back at five of the team’s most notable home openers in its history. No. 5 on the list was Mike Hampton’s debut in 2001 after signing a record eight-year, $121 million contract in the offseason.

As for today’s opener (6:10 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM), Jon Gray takes the mound against the San Diego Padres, a team he’s fared extremely well against in his career. Despite Gray’s overall record of success with Colorado it also will be the first time in his career starting the home opener.

“I’m ready for that real competition there, and I feel like I always have an edge (at Coors Field), so I’m excited. (At home I pitch) knowing that I’m going to out-do the other guy and knowing that our lineup is going to hit the ball. It’s a good combination and it makes you feel confident.”

Jon Gray told The Denver Post

As for the rest of the three-game series, lefty Kyle Freeland is scheduled to start Saturday (6:10 p.m.) and righty Antonio Senzatela will take the mound Sunday (1:10 p.m.)

Nuggets

The NBA season started back up last night as the Jazz beat the Pelicans (106-104) and the Lakers topped the Clippers (103-101) in two tight games. The Nuggets still have another day to wait as they reopen play Saturday morning (11 a.m.) against Miami.

In the meantime coach Michael Malone told TheAthletic.com that where they Nuggets ended up seeded is not his biggest concern.

“Right now, to be honest, I am not concerned about our seeding. Having clinched a playoff spot, my No. 1 concern is health. That continues to be a huge concern for me, a huge point of emphasis. So, can we find a way to get healthy come August 17? With that being said, we have to find ways to start improving.”

Head coach Michael Malone

On the forefront of those concerns is the status of Denver’s Will Barton who has been dealing with right knee soreness while in the bubble.

Avalanche

It’s the Rockies home opener today, the Nuggets first game back tomorrow and then Sunday is about the Avs as they kick off their NHL restart against the St. Louis Blues (4:30 p.m., Altitude) in the round-robin portion to determine the Western Conferences top 4 seeds.

TheDNVR’s AJ Haefele wrote about the glue guys on the Avs, who Colorado will need in order to go deep into the playoffs this season.

Broncos

Fullback/tight end Andrew Beck became the first Broncos player to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. NFL rules prohibit the team from revealing whether he tested positive for coronavirus or needs to be quarantined because he was around a person who tested positive.

  • In an ESPN.com article Rivers McCown ranked the Top 25 young NFL players poised for a breakout season. No. 2 on the list is Denver defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones. Arguably Jones’ best game last season came in Week 16 against the Lions when he recorded 2.5 sacks, two tackles for a loss and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the week.

CU Buffs

The CU football team keeps adding to its 2021 recruiting class. The latest addition is Kaylin Moore, a three-star athlete out of Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian High School. Moore is Colorado’s 11th commit for 2021 and the sixth since July 13.