Denver Nuggets rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. showed his raw offensive talent in the first half of Game 4 on Wednesday against the LA Clippers, using his bounty to score on the inside and his smooth jumper to fire on the defenders of the wings of LA on its way to 15 points on 5 out of 6 shots.
He finished the match with 15 points on a 5 out of 8 shot.
While the Clippers won 96-85 to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semi-final series, with scoring difficulties plaguing the Nuggets in the second half, Porter had a simple explanation as to why he couldn’t continue. his scoring match.
“I just didn’t touch the ball,” he said. “They didn’t do anything different.”
According to Second Spectrum data, Porter had 25 touches in the first half, third in the team behind stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. In the second half, Porter had only 12 touches, seventh in the standings.
“It depends on the phone calls, the coaches and the hands of whoever wants to put the ball,” Porter said. “We kept doing it [Jokic] is [Murray] and they are two fantastic players, but I just think that to beat them we have to involve more players. We need to move the ball a little better. We cannot be predictable against that team. “
Porter built a very good Game 3, when he scored 18 points in 23 minutes, including an emphatic manifesto on Montrezl Harrell. In Game 4, he played 34 minutes and was on the pitch to close the game in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
It’s no secret that Denver’s offense comes through Jokic and Murray, one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in the league. Using Second Spectrum data, Murray and Jokic have combined for 175.5 touches per game this season, the second most of any pair of teammates in the past five seasons. The only duo with more: Jokic and Murray last season.
But with his size and his ability to score, Porter is a potential X factor for the Nuggets. And despite being a rookie, he feels comfortable letting people know he wants to be more involved.
“I think if I’m going to be out there playing for several minutes, I think I should express that,” he said. “I’ll probably talk to the coaches and tell them what I see standing out there on the court just to let them know, look, they know what we’re doing. We have to move the ball. We have a lot of players who can play basketball and score, so we have to involve other guys. “.
Under 3-1, the Nuggets are in familiar territory, returning from the same deficit in the opening round against the Utah Jazz. They can draw on that experience, manager Mike Malone said, and that means winning the next game ahead of them. But he also acknowledged that the Clippers are a different match than the Jazz.
“The same message will be what it was against Utah,” Malone said. “It wasn’t like we had to go back and win three games. It was, we win game 5. And then, after that, we win one at a time. We win 6 and then we win 7. We did it. It’s a different opponent. A very talented team. and deep, but I think we have confidence in being a resistant group and in being a team that when all the others have canceled us, we have found a way. “