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Denver Nuggets Rebound With 6th Straight Road Win

Basketball: Denver Nuggets Jamal Murray (27) in action vs Los Angeles Lakers at Ball Arena. 
Denver, CO 2/14/2021
CREDIT: Jamie Schwaberow (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X163529 TK1)

The Denver Nuggets and Orlando Started off slow with heavy hearts, with the Magic jumping to a 4-0 lead. Then the Dynamic Duo and their potential triplet took-over.

The 1st quarter saw the Denver Nuggets come out flat with sloppy play and bad shooting. Only the players can tell you if heavy hearts had anything to do with it. No one could blame them if it did. Will Barton missed the first two Nugget shots on wide-open 3’s that allowed Orlando to get out to a 4-0 lead within the first 2 minutes of action. Then Denver found another gear on defense and the offensive glass. They would allow a total of 11 points the rest of the quarter and scored 30 of their own. While not allowing a single bench point to the Orlando Magic.

You got a Joker Jam (kinda) and a Blue Arrow up and under beauty. As well as a redemption 3 by Will the Thrill in the corner with no Magic within 15 feet of him. Michael Porter Jr. showed he understood the rebounding deficiency from the New Orleans game Sunday night as he was uber active on both ends of the floor. He is starting to show the strength and length that so many coveted and helped the Nuggets double-up the Magic 30-15 at the end of 1. Every Denver Nugget player starter and bench had a positive +/-. The Magic on the other hand had nothing but negative ratings.

Here’s that (kinda) Joker Jam courtesy of the Denver Nuggets Social Team:

If you thought the 1st quarter was bad for Magic Fans, it only got worse. The Denver Nuggets were actually able to grow that lead as they entered the half up 63-39. Of those 63 points, 42 came in the paint. That’s a good number if I do say so myself. A stark contrast from the New Orleans contest Sunday where they were absolutely dominated in the paint and at the glass by Zion Williamson and Steven Adams. But this is a Magic team that came in with an injured list containing 5 players. Including one of their best in Mo Bamba. And unlike that Sunday matinee, the Nuggets out-rebounded the Magic 26-17 in the first half.

The Nuggets ended the first half shooting 56% from the field, 30.8% from 3, and 50% from the line. As opposed to the Magic at 36.6%/37.5%/75% respectively. Both defenses were disciplined though as only 4 free throws total were shot, and none came until less than a minute left in the half. Jokic, Murray, and Will Barton all ended the half in double-digits. With MPJ close behind with 8. Jokic continues his triple-double threats with 17 pts/6 assists/5 rebounds entering intermission.

Here are some of those impressive halftime stats courtesy of the Denver Nuggets Social Team:

The 3rd-quarter saw the Orlando Magic find some life and give the small home-crowd something to cheer for. As they were able to cause havoc to Denver’s offense causing 6 turnovers in the quarter after Denver only committed 4 in the entire first half. They were able to close that 24-point deficit at half down to 7-points before the end of the 3rd. This had a lot to do with closing the rebounding gap from the first half that had Denver +9. Orlando was able to dwindle this down to Denver +7. This is the key to the Nuggets’ success, defense, and rebounding. If they can keep the energy up on D and on the glass, not a team in the league can stop their offense.

The 4th-quarter started as sloppy as the 3rd with the Magic keeping their energy. Clawing to within 5 points before Blue Arrow took over with 10 minutes left, hitting a ridiculous fade-away 3 with two defenders in his face, yes that is the right number key pressed. He then passed the torch to Nikola with about 5 minutes to go. Where Joker would go on to commit Nikola on Nikola crime as seen below, and putting up yet another triple-double with a slash of 28 pts/10 assists/15 rebounds.

Here is that felony committed on the floor courtesy of the Denver Nuggets Social Team:

You saw an up-and-down performance from a Nuggets team that showed why Jokic and Murray bristle when people try to say they are the only ones that matter. That 28 points by Joker was a team-high. There was no Blue Arrow 50-burgers tonight. What you got was a true team win. Murray scored 21, Michael Porter Jr. came up 3 rebounds short of a double-double (18 pts/7 rebs), and P.J. Dozier chipped in 14 points off the bench plus 6 rebounds and 2 assists to boot. You saw every Nugget end the night with no less than a 0 +/- rating (Zeke Nnaji 6 pts/5 rebs). We also had Facundo Campazzo put in another workmanlike performance on his birthday where he also had an arena back home named after him. Facundo put in a +9 rating, 6 assists, and 2 steals.

It wasn’t all roses for Mile High Basketball, nor all sour-grapes for Orlando. Evan Fournier was a huge part of the Magic staying competitive with a game-high 31 points. Al-Farouq Aminu put up a double-double (17 pts/10 rebs). But unfortunately for them, they were the only Magic player to touch the ball that had a positive rating (which was the entire active roster). In the end, you simply saw what it means to have superior talent up and down the roster. Also why the modern game has squeed to the trey. The Nuggets just hit a gear with 5 minutes to go in the 4th that the Orlando Magic couldn’t match. Which lead to the final score of 110-99. Now it’s on to the second half of a back-back for Denver against Toronto on Wednesday.

Up Next:

@Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, March 25, 2021 at 5:30 PM MST

Where to watch:

Denver Market: Altitude TV/Altitude Radio 92.5 FM

Toronto Market: Toronto Sports Network

Colorado Avalanche Continue Streak 5-1 Over Arizona

DENVER, CO - MARCH 04: Colorado Avalanche team members skate off the ice following a first period goal by Avalanche Right Wing Vladislav Namestnikov (90) during a regular season game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting Anaheim Ducks on March 4, 2020 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche enter and exit a dominate force of nature after (enter score here) thrashing of the Arizona Coyotes.

The first period saw the Arizona Coyotes and their suffocating defense threw their best at the Colorado Avalanche. For the first 14:22 it seemed to be working. For this, almost a quarter-hour of play Arizona tricked many into believing they could hang with the Avalanche. As they were able to keep them pinned in their defensive zone for long stretches. Then when Colorado did make it into their offensive zone, Arizona did a great job of bodying and bullying the Avs around the ice to prevent any scoring opportunities and only 3 shots on goal to that point.

Colorado Avalanche Gear

Then Pierre-Edouard Bellemare took the pass from Matt Calvert and deposited the puck in the net to make it 1-0 for his 3rd of the year. The Coyotes had to believe that this was an ok result after the way Colorado had dominated its last 2 opponents. Well, that was before Mikko Rantanen revisited his favorite corner of the cage as he deposited a wrister above the left shoulder of the goalie to make it 2-0 on just 5 shots on goal just over a minute later. It was Rantanen’s 18th of the season. How frustrating does it have to be to play this team? The Coyotes played an almost perfect period and still ended it down 2-0.

The second period saw the unstoppable force that is the Colorado Avalanche offense continue to press the issue. After drawing blood at the end of the first period. This offensive pressure had the Coyote take the first penalty of the game penalty at 16:14 left in 2nd period. It was a 2-minute minor for holding on Jakob Chychrun that the Coyotes killed. But not without a fight and flurry of pressure from the Avalanche special teams. The hold was a necessary play as Nazem Kadri was about to blow by him for a one-on-one opportunity.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 02:  Colorado Avalanche Center Nazem Kadri (91) celebrates a third period goal during a regular season game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting St. Louis Blues on January 2, 2020 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Antti Raanta put forth a Herculean effort stoning shot after shot to begin the 2nd period. Until Nazem Kadri took a huge swipe at a one-timer off the face-off win by Andre Burakovsky. The shot was slightly deflected over Raanta’s right shoulder. This would be the only scoring in the 2nd period, with a huge part of the credit going to Philipp Grubauer. As he stopped all 9 shots sent his way during the period. Gru was yet again the calm within the storm as he made multiple break-away and odd-man saves. These were during the rare lapses in the Colorado discipline that created turnovers for the Coyotes. But every time Philipp was up to the challenge, showing yet again why he is the MVP for Colorado a little over half-way through the season. This man has reached another level within the crease.

The 3rd period was a showing of both team’s defensive and goaltending prowess as Raanta and Gru went back and forth with impressive save after impossible save. Both Defenses pressed hard in their own zone, throwing their bodies around and bullying each other off the puck. This game was a prime example of the difference between a “try hard” team and a talented team. The Arizona Coyotes get by on guile and want-to. The Colorado Avalanche has one of, if not the deepest and most talented rosters in the entire league.

Even emergency call-ups like Jacob MacDonald are playing at a high level. A journeyman defenseman that currently has a season +/- of 6, that is 8th on the team by the way.

Here is the top-10 for the Colorado Avalanche courtesy of Hockey-reference.com:

You also see Devon Toews leading the team in the 5 games he’s been able to play. If this team stays healthy and keeps this same energy. The heights this team from a Mile High can reach is dizzying. You did see Grubauer’s shut-out streak end at 3:38 on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 1st goal of the season in his 22nd game. This was the only Power Play goal of the game for either team in 5 tries combined. This drew Arizona within 2 goals at 3-1. For a little more than a minute as Rick Tocchet pulled Raanta after Larsson’s goal anyway. Then Joonas Donskoi stole a goal, his 9th, on a slap-shot by Valeri Nichushkin that doinked off Donskoi and into the empty net. Valeri had to settle for his 6th assist of the season.

Joonas must have felt he needed to legitimize his boxscore with 10.9 seconds left as he goes unassisted for his 2nd goal of the game, and 10th of the season to make the final score 5-1. Thankfully we only have to wait 24-hours until we get tho see this team take the ice again. And they get to show us some more things we have never seen before. The Avalanche improve to 20-18-2. Gru gets to 19-7-1, and the avalanche keeps destroying all in it’s path.

Colorado Avalanche Gear

Next Up:

@ Arizona Coyotes, Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @8:00 PM MST

Where to watch:

Colorado Market: Altitude TV/Altitude Radio 92.5 FM

Arizona Market: Fox Sports Arizona

Denver Nuggets Can’t Closeout Pelicans

The Denver Nuggets came in on a 3 game winning streak and hit the road with a sour taste from some cajun cooking by the New Orleans Pelicans falling 113-108.

The Denver Nuggets had to be feeling good about themselves after their overtime stunner against the Bulls on Friday night. When Jamal Murray hit the smoothest last second three we ever did see. But unfortunately for the home team, they have to fly cross-country to Orlando with a sick feeling as if they ate bad gumbo.

The Pelicans on the other hand get a bit of a statement win against one of the best teams in the Association. The Nuggets came in and left as the leagues 3rd best FG shooters (48.8%), 4th best 3pt shooters (38.9%), 4th best in PPG (116), and the West’s 6th best record (25-17). The Pelicans are no push over, especially in the paint where they lead the league in points scored. They are 4th in FG % (48.5, just behind Denver), and 5th in PPG (115, again, just behind Denver).

The Nuggets lack of discipline on defense. And no effort on the offensive glass outside of Isaiah Hartenstein in the 4th quarter. That all lead to 28 free throws for New Orleans, to just 10 for Denver. It also lead to Paul Millsap fouling out in the final minutes. Steven Adams ending up with 13 total rebounds, of those, 7 were on offense. Three Pelican starters scored 20+(Williamson, Ingram, and Alexander-Walker). The Pelicans also had 7 blocked shots by 5 different players. To the 5 blocks by 3 players on Denver’s side (Hartenstein had 3 of those blocks alone). But even with all this positive, the only starter for New Orleans that finished with a positive +/- was Brandon Ingram at +3. This was due to the 16 turnovers Denver forced which kept this from being a blowout.

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 14: Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) goes for the dunk during the 1st half of the Duke Blue Devils game versus the Eastern Michigan Eagles on November 14, 2018, at Cameron Indoor Stadium (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Zion Williamson is flourishing before our eyes (30 pts, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block). The 2-man game they employ with him and Ingram (30 pts, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) is proving deadly. This team is still a few peaces from truly contending for a title. But they have a solid foundation, and are starting to see fruits from that Anthony Davis seed they planted.

Kira Lewis Jr., the rookie from Alabama, showed some flashes tonight. With the second best +/- for New Orleans at +11 with 6 points and 1 steal on 3-6 shooting. The stats aren’t going to blow you away, but his shot over Joker in the 3rd should. This kid looks like he deserves more time on the floor, he’s a little undersized, but showed no fear of going in the paint. Look for this kid to make more noise around the league when this team starts winning.

It’s not as if the Denver Nuggets 2-man game wasn’t working. As you can see below courtesy of the Denver Nuggets Social Team:

The Joker and Blue Arrow put on their capes. As Joker had yet another triple-double and Jamal was almost 60% from the field. The rub lies with the bench where the Nuggets got only 17 total pts and 9 rebounds. Not a single bench player for Denver had a positive +/-. While the entire Pelicans bench had nothing less than a +8. The Pelicans received 23 total pts, 15 total rebounds, 11 total assists, and 3 steals from there’s.

Poor bench performance, low number of free throws taken vs high number given up. And neither Murray or Jokic truly taking over the game doomed Denver in the 4th. The Nuggets lead by as much as 9 points in the 1st quarter, but after dropping behind by 7 at the half. They never lead again by more than 4. Then once Zion and company smelled blood in the water with less than 2 minutes to go, they pulled away.

Unlike Friday when there seemed to be a calm about Jokic and Murray during the storm of a comeback. The Sunday matinee was the complete opposite as with less than a minute to go, both Murray and Jokic had a shot at wide open 3’s to get the Denver Nuggets within 1, on the same possession, and both fell short. This was the moment I knew history would not repeat itself and the Nuggets had simply run out of gas. Here’s to hoping a long flight cross-country will clear their minds and leave them with some fresh energy in the first night of a back to back in Orlando then Toronto.


The Nuggets play next on Tuesday night March 23 at 5:00 PM MST

How to watch/listen:

Denver Market: Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio 92.5

Orlando Market: Fox Sports Florida

Colorado Avalanche Bury Wild 6-0

When the game started the Colorado Avalanche had a season 2-2 record after their 5-1 beating of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in Ball Arena.

Then they entered the Saturday matinee matchup picking right up where they left off beating the Wild 6-0. And Grubauer must have taken that one goal given up personally as he stopped all 31 shots sent his way.  It all started at 16:45 to go in the 1st-period as the Avalanche got their 1st Power-Play of the game. Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche scored on a wrister from the high slot at 15:47 to go in the 1st, bouncing off the left post and in.

Watch just how sweet it was from the kid courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

Gabriel Landeskog scored the 2nd goal of the game and first of 3 points on the night at 8:47 left in 1st. Even though Landy got a little handsy almost brushing his top-shelf shot off the goalie’s shoulder before inertia took it to the net on its own. As a result, Nathan MacKinnon got an assist on his way to his own 3-point game. As well as Cale Makar’s 2nd point in his own multi-point contest:

Watch below courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

The first true scoring chance for the Wild came with 5:37 to go in the 1st when they were able to uncork 2 shots on goal with bodies falling everywhere in front of the crease. Philipp Grubauer was able to stone both attempts though. As a result, Clearing the zone on the second with a poke check save. Their only other real opportunity came At 7:06 to go in the 3rd. But yet again Gru makes 2 consecutive saves as bodies fall in all directions and wearing both colors.

The Wild got a Power Play at the 5-minute mark in the 1st. The Avalanche killed it with 4 amazing saves by Gru. Including a fully sprawled-out superman rejection while diving from the left side of the crease to the right. There was no doubt from the opening whistle just how much this game meant in the standings as calm aggression seemed to permeate the roster. With this win, the Avs were able to crawl their way into 2nd place in the West Division. Just 3 points behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Listen to Gru discuss the performance in his post-game interview courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

After yet another penalty kill and more aggressive play to close the first the Avalanche lead the wild 2-0. Then the 2nd period started and the onslaught commenced. Mikko Rantanen at just over a minute into the 2nd scored with the assist of the crossbar and post. The assist went to Grubauer for his 2nd of the season. This tied him for the most ever by an Avalanche goaltender with Calvin Pickard who accomplished the feat in the 2016-17 season.

Watch below to see how a goalie gets points courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

Then just 21 seconds later Tyson Jost gets in on the action as he sends a one-timer to the back of the net putting the Avs up 4-0. The Wild barely showed any fight after this goal. Landeskog took a penalty at 4:41 to go in the 2nd, the Wild’s third Power Play of the game. The Avalanche continued their show of synergy and calm aggression as they killed it with suffocating pressur. With a couple of “easy” saves by Gru thrown in. The Avalanche allowed only 2 shots on goal or less on all 4 Penalty Kills.

At 1:13 left in the 2nd-period Devin Toews took a cross-pass from Nathan MacKinnon and chipped the puck off the left post and in. This appeared to be the dagger that seemed to suck all life out of Minnesota.. Therefore the assist went to MacKinnon after nifty skating at the offensive blue line opened a hole he exploited with said pass to Toews who was trailing perfectly. Avs 5, Wild 0 after 2 periods of hockey.

Colorado Avalanche Gear

There must be something with Colorado and Kaapo Kähkönen. As the only 2 games he has given up at least 5 goals have come this season against the Avalanche. The last coming in their matchup on January 30th of this year. But the Avalanche gave the Wild a chance to get back in it as Nichuskin took a penalty with .3 seconds left in the 2nd.

Which means the Avalanche began period 3 on the penalty kill. The Av’s did not allow a shot on goal during penalty kill. Putting the Wild at 0-3 on Power Plays for the night at that point. Then just a few minutes later at 15:07 to go in the 3rd period, the 6th goal is scored by Valeri Nichushkin after some strong skating up the left side of the rink and a sweet flick over the pad to the back of the net.

Watch the poetry in motion courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

On the ensuing face-off Joseph Cramarossa gets a 10 min major and ejected for slashing JT Compher. This would not end the penalty chances for both teams for the night. Greenway of the Wild would get a 2:00 minor at 10:00 to go in the 3rd of no consequence. Even though Minnesota had 4 PP’s to Colorado’s 2. The Wild outpaced the Avalanche in penalty minutes 14-8 thanks to this indiscretion. With Colorado leaving the contest with the only PPG. As the NHL’s 2nd ranked penalty kill (Avs at 87.1%) showed its strength once again.

All in all the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 6-0, with all 6 goals coming from 6 different scorers. And outscored them 11-1 overall in the 2-game set. You wouldn’t know the Minnesota Wild were riding a 5-game winning streak coming into the 2-game set this past Thursday night. After the thrashing they were handed by this ascending roster you may assume they were a bottom dweller. Not the 2nd place team in the division coming in.


The Colorado Avalanche offense that is currently ranked 13th in Goals For (91) and 13th in Power Play % (23.5) is heating up and can easily climb into the top-10 with just couple more performances like tonight. And add in the 3rd best defense in Goals Against (65, all numbers courtesy of Yahoo! Sports) and a red-hot goalie on a 6-game win streak coming off a shutout that came with an assist. Therefore the rest of the league better take notice over the second-half of the season. As the Avalanche has begun, with nothing to even slow it in the way it seems.

Avalanche have an off-day Sunday before taking on the Arizona Coyotes in a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday 7:00 PM MST and 7:30 PM MST respectively.

You can tune in on Altitude TV or Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 for the broadcast. Check local listings.