Steph Curry helped Jamal Murray bury the Bulls

After the shock wore off from Tuesday’s pounding against the Warriors, Nuggets coach Michael Malone asked his players to learn from what Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had just done to them.

Keep moving like Curry, create space like Thompson, hoist like Kevin Durant.

“Learn from the best,” Malone said.

Jamal Murray cooked the Bulls with seven 3-pointers in Thursday’s 135-105 rout, including six in the game-defining third quarter. Murray rolled off screeners, created separation and exploited lazy closeouts like Curry had done to the Nuggets only two nights earlier.

Asked if he was thinking about Curry during his 22-point third quarter, Murray clapped back.

“No, I had some Jamal Murray in my mind,” he said. “I watched Steph, obviously. I watch Steph as a fan of the game, as my favorite player in the game, what he does, how he doesn’t stop moving, foot work, where he shoots from, how relaxed he is.”

Nikola Jokic nearly had a triple-double himself with 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds and even he conceded Murray had the hot hand.

“He kind of looked for himself in that third quarter, to be honest,” Jokic quipped after assisting on two of Murray’s triples in the period.

Murray said most of the film he watches is of himself as a means to get better, but there’s no better shooter for him to emulate than Curry, who killed the Nuggets with eight 3-pointers of his own on Tuesday.

“Steph is a great player to watch, especially as a guy that can shoot, get to the rim, puts pressure on defense and gets downhill and makes passes,” Murray said. “I watch him a lot.”

On a night when the Nuggets shot 50 percent from the 3-point line, burying a season-high 20 3-pointers, Malone said the thing he was most pleased about how Murray found his success.

Adams County entices national broadcaster with tax credits

Stay tuned —  a national broadcaster is looking at metro Denver for a major network center.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday approved $10.2 million in job growth incentive tax credits to Project Beam, an unnamed media company eyeing Adams County for a new operations facility slated to employ 769 people.

The average annual wage for those jobs was listed at $90,572, which is 170 percent of the average wage in Adams County. Arizona is also in the running, said Michelle Hadwiger, deputy director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

The company owns news, sports and cable networks and plans to invest $100 million to $150 million in the new facility, which would distribute hundreds of thousands of hours of programming to 200 broadcast affiliates and more than 1,000 satellite and cable stations, Hadwiger told commissioners.

She said the company is highly recognized, publicly traded and a member of the Fortune 500, which narrows the pool of potential candidates.

Comcast, which ranks 33rd on the Fortune 500, owns NBCUniversal and already has a significant presence in metro Denver, mostly on the south side. In 2013, Universal Sports Network moved production operations from southern California to Centennial and Comcast is a repeat customer when it comes to tapping state incentives to support its expansion plans.

AT&T, which ranks 9th on the Fortune list, acquired Time Warner Inc. last summer, giving it control of HBO and Turner Broadcasting Systems, which controls CNN, Turner Sports and The Cartoon Network. It might be on the hunt to consolidate some operations.

There’s also 21st Century Fox, ranked No. 109, and Walt Disney Corp., the owner of ABC and ESPN, at No. 55. CBS Corp., ranked No. 197 on the Forbes list, trades under its own stock, but National Amusements, a privately-held holding company, has voting control.

The second largest incentive award made on Thursday, $1.7 million under the name Project Peacock, went to an American subsidiary of a global information technology firm based in India. The company is looking to set up a facility in Arapahoe County to serve two large clients in the area.

The center, with a focus on video engineering technology, plans to hire 100 full-time positions with an average annual pay of $84,496. Other states in the running include New Jersey and Missouri.

“It will strengthen our relationship with India,” Hadwiger said of Colorado landing Project Peacock.

Ben Garland, former Air Force guard, named NFL’s Salute to Service Award finalist

Atlanta Falcons guard Ben Garland and former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple are the finalists for the NFL’s Salute To Service Award.

The recipient of the award, presented by USAA, will be revealed on Feb. 2 during the NFL Honors show when The Associated Press announces its annual league awards, including MVP.

Garland and Hipple were selected for their efforts to support members of the military community.

USAA, a provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation to the award recipient’s military charity of choice.

Garland attended the Air Force Academy and just completed his fifth pro season. He recently was selected to become a major in the Colorado Air National Guard.

Garland is involved with helping veterans adjust to life after service and helping to raise awareness for PTSD. Last year, he participated in the Armed Forces Mission’s Georgia LOSS Walk, when he walked alongside veterans, service members and families for a program called “Turning the Tide on Veteran Suicide.”

Participating in the military taught Garland lessons that have helped him as an athlete and vice versa.

“Serving in the Air National Guard has been paramount to my development as a football player,” he said. “It has helped my leadership skills, mental toughness, how to work under pressure, and establish an Air Force core values mindset of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. I also believe my NFL career has made me a better officer. Over my career, I have had the opportunity to play for some of the best coaches in the world and in doing so was able to study their leadership methods.”

Garland works year-round with a number of military nonprofits: Merging Vets and Players, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, Shepherd Center SHARE Initiative and TAPS. He works with Pigskin Patriots to help raise funds and donate time for camps for military children and with Children of the Fallen Patriots Foundation on granting college scholarship funds.

Hipple retired following the 1989 season after 10 seasons in the NFL. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff’s suicide, Hipple has worked to build awareness and break down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses.

In conjunction with NAVY U.S. Fleet Forces, Hipple has conducted workshops on suicide and destructive behavior prevention during the last decade, focusing on mental fitness. His book “Real Men Do Cry” received a publisher Presidential Award.

After retiring from the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Depression Center, where he spent 11 years in outreach, Hipple serves as outreach specialist for Eisenhower Center’s “After The Impact” program, a neuro-behavioral residential treatment facility serving military veterans and former NFL players.

Bob Costas exiting longtime home at NBC Sports – The Denver Post

LOS ANGELES — Bob Costas, who stepped down as NBC’s prime-time Olympics host two years ago, has left the network’s sports division altogether.

NBC Sports said Wednesday that Costas parted ways with his longtime employer, providing no further details.

A representative for Costas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Costas, 66, served as the emcee for NBC’s Olympics 11 times starting in 1992. In early 2017, he stepped aside for network newcomer Mike Tirico, formerly with ESPN.

When the switch was announced in early 2017, Costas said he had decided on his own that the time was right for a change. He said then he wanted to do long-form programming and commentary on special events, likening his new role to what former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw does for the network.

On Tuesday, Costas told the New York Post of his decision to leave NBC Sports, saying his departure was settled “quietly and happily for all concerned.”

In August 2018, the paper reported that he was no longer satisfied with his role at NBC and a contract that limited his participation in other projects.

Costas, who joined NBC Sports in 1979, has covered baseball, football and basketball and horse racing as well as served as the face and voice of the Olympics.

He plans to continue working on the MLB Network and is interested in doing an interview show focusing on sports and news, the Post said.

Coroner rules Longmont skydiving death accident

Courtesy photo

Logan Polfuss

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office has ruled the fall skydiving death of Logan Polfuss an accident.

Polfuss, 23, was found dead Oct. 19 in a field in unincorporated Boulder County, fewer than 24 hours after he went skydiving at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center located at Vance Brand Municipal Airport in Longmont.

Polfuss had a jump time in the early afternoon the day prior. His girlfriend reported him missing at about 9 p.m. after he didn’t show up for dinner.

According to an autopsy report obtained Wednesday by the Times-Call, the cause of Polfuss’ death was multiple blunt force injuries. It is unclear if he died immediately upon impact with the ground or between the time he landed and the time he was found.

The report also states that, according to information from the Federal Aviation Administration, Polfuss was not using the proper equipment, didn’t have his equipment up to standards and did not have enough free fall experience for the type of suit he was using.

White House denounces Rep. King’s white supremacy remarks

WASHINGTON — Comments by Republican Rep. Steve King about white supremacy are “abhorrent,” the White House said Wednesday as bipartisan condemnation of King continued.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised a move by House Republicans to strip the nine-term Iowa lawmaker of his committee assignments.

King told The New York Times last week that, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The comments were widely denounced as racist.

The House on Tuesday approved a Democratic measure rebuking King, and a member of the House Republican leadership suggested King should leave Congress.

When President Donald Trump was asked on Monday about King’s remarks, he said: “I haven’t been following it.” But Sanders said Wednesday that King’s comments were “abhorrent,” and said GOP leaders took action when one of their members said “outrageous and inappropriate things.”

House Democratic leaders, meanwhile, blocked an effort to censure King, referring a proposal by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush to the House Ethics Committee for further review.

Censure is the most serious sanction for a House member short of expulsion, and it has been imposed only six times in the past 100 years.

Rush, the sole House member to oppose the earlier measure rebuking King, pressed for a vote Wednesday to censure King, saying the House should take a stronger stand against what he called “Steve King’s violent, vitriolic and rabid racism.”

Sears staves off liquidation, stores to remain open

NEW YORK — Sears will live on — at least for now.

The company’s chairman and largest shareholder, Eddie Lampert, won a bankruptcy auction for Sears, averting liquidation of the iconic chain, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The person agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiation publicly.

Lampert, who steered the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, is aiming to keep open roughly 400 stores and preserve tens of thousands of jobs.

But how long Sears can survive under the 56-year-old billionaire, who has tried and failed to turn around the company many times before, remains an open question. Cutthroat competitors like Amazon, Target and Walmart also pose challenges that the struggling retailer has so far been unable to overcome.

“While there’s no doubt that a shrunken Sears will be more viable than the larger entity, which struggled to turn a profit, we remain extremely pessimistic about the chain’s future,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “In our view, Sears exits this process with almost as many problems as it had when it entered bankruptcy protection. In essence, its hand has not changed, and the cards it holds are not winning ones.”

The operator of Sears and Kmart had 687 stores and 68,000 workers at the time of its bankruptcy filing. Nearly 30 of those stores are in Colorado. At its peak in 2012, its stores numbered 4,000.

Lampert, the only one to put out a bid for the whole company, had sweetened his offer to more than $5 billion over the last few days through an affiliate of his hedge fund ESL after his original bid had been rejected by the Sears board. That included assuming certain liabilities like covering bills to vendors of up to $166 million. Details of the final terms couldn’t be learned.

The plan is not a done deal and must be approved at a hearing on February 1 by a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York.

Lampert, who gave up the CEO title when the Sears filed for Chapter 11, has maintained there’s still potential for the company. But he has yet to spell out details on how he plans to turn it around.
Lampert combined Sears with Kmart in 2005, about two years after he helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy. He pledged to return Sears to greatness, but that never happened.

The company, hammered during the recession and outmatched in its aftermath by shifting consumer trends and strong rivals, hasn’t had a profitable year since 2010 and has suffered 11 straight years of annual sales declines. Lampert has been criticized for not investing in the stores, which remain shabby.

Under Lampert, Sears has survived by spinning off stores and selling brands that had grown synonymous with the company, like Craftsman. Lampert has loaned out his own money and cobbled together deals to keep the company afloat, though critics said he has done so with the aim of benefiting his hedge fund. ESL has maintained that the moves put much needed cash into the business.

Four years ago the company created a real estate investment trust to extract revenue from the enormous number of properties owned by Sears. It sold and leased back more than 200 properties to the REIT, in which Lampert is a significant stake holder.

Spouse struggles to share husband’s losses – The Denver Post

Dear Amy: My husband is 56 and I am 31. During the five years we’ve been together, he has lost countless friends, family and acquaintances.

He’s a union rep, so he knows many people, including retirees, and goes to several funerals a month. The hardest ones are obviously for his close friends or their children whom he watched grow up. Some have been truly tragic.

He has an extremely difficult time expressing his emotions — happy or sad.

I have to listen very closely for cues to understand how affected he is. For instance, today he insulted his favorite football team after hearing about another friend’s death.

I don’t know any of these people and I have not been invited to their services. They are people my husband knew for decades but doesn’t necessarily hang around with anymore. He’s more comfortable going to these services by himself and I respect that.

During this same time, I have been blessed to not lose anyone close to me. Naturally, my friends have been getting married and having children.

We are aware of the differences in our stages of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier to relate in the moment.

My question is, what more can I say other than, “I’m sorry you lost your friend.”

He responds well to gestures. I try to cook a special dinner or at least try to be less annoying than usual.

Is it overstepping to send flowers to the services? What else could I do?

— Spouse in the Dark

In era of news deserts, no easy fix for local news struggles

NEW YORK — The local news industry hasn’t been the subject of much good news itself, lately.

Newspaper circulation is down sharply, and so is employment in the newspaper industry. Financial cutbacks have led to the shutdown of nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers since 2004.

Two developments this week brought the issue into further focus. Facebook, whose success has contributed to the news business’ decline, announced Tuesday it would invest $300 million over three years in news initiatives with an emphasis in local coverage. More ominously, the hedge fund-backed Digital First Media, which owns the Denver Post and is known for sharp cost-cutting strategies, bid to buy Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and several daily newspapers across the country.

“It’s a struggle every day,” said Charles Sennott, a former newspaper beat reporter who co-founded The GroundTruth Project, a foundation that funds the work of journalists. “Every day we are facing the fact that American journalism is in crisis.”

Sennott was buoyed this week to meet with Obed Manuel, a young reporter at the Dallas Morning News whose coverage of Hispanic immigration is paid for in part by The GroundTruth Project.

Yet there was a pall over the newsroom they toured. The Dallas Morning News announced 43 layoffs last week, 20 of them newsroom employees, to cope with persistent declines in readership and advertising revenue.

That’s a familiar dynamic in the local news industry, where a positive development like Manuel’s hiring can feel like a tender shoot of green struggling to rise in a barren late-winter landscape.

The statistics are numbing: U.S. weekday newspaper circulation is down from 122 million to 73 million in 15 years. The number of working newspaper journalists has been cut in half since 2004. Nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers have been lost in the same period, down to a little more than 7,000.

The tally is compiled by Penelope Muse Abernathy, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina, whose study of the topic has given rise to new terminology: news deserts, which refers to communities that are no longer covered by daily journalists; and ghost newspapers is a reference to publications that have become a shadow of their former selves in terms of circulation and ambition.

Social media behemoths like Facebook have cut into news readership and revenue. But Abernathy said business decisions of newspaper owners are more to blame. Metropolitan and regional newspapers cut circulation in outlying suburban and rural areas, while many weekly newspapers simply shuttered, she said.

“The country feels very divided and I think a lot of the divisiveness in the country is because people feel they are not being heard,” Sennott said. There are fewer local reporters around to listen to and report on their concerns, he said.

The challenge for the news business is convincing the public — many of whom aren’t particularly enamored with journalists anyway — that this loss hurts them, too, in terms of how connected they are to their communities when there is less opportunity to know what’s going on.

“We are really at a tipping point now,” Abernathy said. “Can we revitalize the news industry?”

Facebook is donating $2 million to Report for America, an offshoot of Sennott’s GroundTruth Project that has helped pay for reporters at news organizations in Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Report for America pays part of their salaries, the news organization pays part, and donations are also solicited from the community. There are 13 reporters in place now, with a goal of 50 working by the end of the year.

Facebook is giving a $5 million grant to the Pulitzer Center for “Bringing Stories Home,” which will fund at least 12 in-depth local reporting projects. Much of Pulitzer’s previous work has gone to helping pay for international journalism, particularly as it affected local communities.

“This isn’t going to solve the challenges facing smaller news organizations and the communities they serve but at least it’s a step in the right direction,” said Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center.

Noted Abernathy: “It’s a start.”

There have been some 500 digital start-ups attempting to replace coverage offered at the 1,800 newspapers that have closed in the past decade and a half, Abernathy said. The problem is these sites mostly serve urban areas, since that’s where there is enough business to provide advertising, she said. She’s encouraged by foundations that support news, although much of that funding goes to international projects.

Some large news outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post have provided models to succeed in the new environment, said Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst at Harvard’s Nieman Lab. The formula includes a healthy investment in journalism, the creation of innovative digital and mobile products and asking readers to help pay for them.

It helps that the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. Few smaller newspapers have anywhere near the resources or determination, he said.

Many companies that own newspapers are motivated by the typical business imperative — making money — and don’t necessarily recognize or care too deeply about the public service aspect of journalism, Abernathy said.

6 quarterback prospects to watch

Broncos general manager John Elway is searching for the next great franchise quarterback.

Will that cornerstone arrive in Denver through the draft this spring? The Broncos signed quarterback Case Keenum to a two-year, $36-million contract last year. Elway, in a recent interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, called Keenum “probably a short-term fix.”  Here’s a look at six potential long-term solutions from the college ranks. (Draft stock will move up and down after the NFL combine and individual workouts).

In this Jan. 1, 2019, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins runs against Washington during the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game, in Pasadena, Calif.

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press file

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins runs against Washington during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2019.

Dwayne Haskins

School: Ohio State (R-So.)

Size: 6-foot-3, 220 pounds

Experience: 14 career starts (13-1)

2018 statistics: 373-of-533 passing (.700) for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions; 79 carries for 106 yards and four touchdowns.

Draft projection: Round 1

What they’re saying: “He has a big arm, shows great anticipation on his throws, takes care of the ball and has solid athleticism.” — ESPN’s Mel Kiper

Notable: Widely considered the top available quarterback in the class. … 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist. … Set 28 OSU records last season. … Small sample size as a starting college quarterback is a potential concern. … Led Buckeyes to conference championship and Rose Bowl victory.

Kyler Murray of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to pass in the fourth quarter during the College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 29, 2018 in Miami, Fla.

Mark Brown, Getty Images

Kyler Murray of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to pass in the fourth quarter during the College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 29, 2018 in Miami, Fla.

Kyler Murray

School: Oklahoma (Jr.)

Size: 5-10, 195

Experience: 17 career starts (14-3)

2018 statistics: 260-of-377 passing for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions; 140 carries for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Draft projection: Rounds 1-2

What they’re saying: “I’ve never seen him have a poor outing. Not one. Which at quarterback is impossible to do, but he’s done it. I’d take him with the first pick of the draft if I could.” — Former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, in October. Kingsbury is now the Arizona Cardinals head coach.

Notable: 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. … Picked No.9 overall in the 2018 MLB draft by the Athletics and received a $4.66-million signing bonus. … Declared for the NFL Draft on Monday. … Undersized (he’s likely not his listed 5-10) but the most dynamic playmaker at quarterback in this class.

Jose Juarez, The Associated Press

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (17) runs for a touchdown past Northern Illinois safety Mycial Allen (20) during the first quarter of the Quick Lane Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Detroit.

Daniel Jones

School: Duke (R-Jr.)

Size: 6-5, 200

Experience: 36 starts (17-19)

2018 statistics: 237-of-392 passing (60.5) for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions; 104 carries for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Draft projection: Rounds 1-3

What they’re saying: “It would be a surprise in NFL circles if he doesn’t end up in the first round.” — Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel

Notable: A three-year starter for Duke coach and quarterback guru David Cutcliffe. … Broke his collarbone in September and missed only two games. … Dual-threat capability with elite NFL size. … Accuracy has been questioned after 29 career interceptions and a 59-percent career completion rate.

Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

Will Grier (7) of West Virginia drops back to pass against the Tennessee Volunteers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Will Grier

School: West Virginia (R-Sr.)

Size: 6-2, 221

Experience: 27 career starts (20-7)

2018 statistics: 266-of-397 passing (.67) for 3,864 yards, 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions; 48 carries for minus-90 yards and three touchdowns.

Draft projection: Rounds 1-3

What they’re saying: “(Grier) has average zip on intermediate throws but can drive the ball vertically, although it requires full-body effort.” — ESPN’s Todd McShay

Notable: Threw for 300 or more yards in 19 WVU games to set a school record. … Suspended from Florida in 2015 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. … Skipped WVU’s bowl game this season for NFL prep.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, center, scrambles ...

L.G. Patterson, The Associated Press

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, center, scrambles for a touchdown in front of Wyoming’s Andrew Wingard, left, and Cassh Maluia, right, during the first half Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Columbia, Mo.

Drew Lock

School: Missouri (Sr.)

Size: 6-3, 228

Experience: 46 career starts (21-25)

2018 statistics: 275-of-437 passing (.62) for 3,498 yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions; 55 carries for 175 yards and six touchdowns.

Draft projection: Rounds 1-3

What they’re saying: “Lock has an intriguing skill set. He’s big, athletic and possesses plenty of arm strength. I love the urgency of his footwork in the pocket and he does a nice job of getting the ball out quickly. He can easily drive the ball outside the numbers and throws a beautiful dig route over the middle.” — analyst Daniel Jeremiah

Notable: Was considered a top NFL quarterback prospect after 44 passing touchdowns in 2017, but elected to return for his senior year. … Inconsistent accuracy and decision-making this season has dropped his draft stock. … Elway has scouted Lock in person.

North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley (15) throws a pass against Texas A&M during the first half of the Gator Bowl on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (James Gilbert/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Ryan Finley

School: North Carolina State (R-Sr.)

Size: 6-4, 208

Experience: 41 starts (27-14)