The Denver Nuggets lost to the Los Angeles Clipper last night, 96-85, to fall to a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Semifinals. Michael Porter Jr. was a bright spot for the team, scoring 15 points off the bench and adding six rebounds. He was a team-best +4 during his time on the court. It was what he said after the game, however, that caught some heat from others in the NBA, including Portland Trail Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard.
“We kept going to (Nikola Jokic) and (Jamal Murray), and they’re two amazing players so you can never get mad at that,” Porter Jr. said after the game, when asked about his role in the offense on Wednesday night, after he attempted just eight shots in 32 minutes. “But to beat that team we’ve got to get more players involved, we have to move the ball a little bit better. We can’t be predictable.”
Porter Jr. missed his true rookie season in 2018-19, recovering from the injury that cost him most of his one year at Missouri. Offensively, he’s been a nice surprise for Denver this year, upping his role in the postseason from his 55 regular season appearances. He’s averaging 12.1 points per game in the playoffs so far.
Not everyone is thrilled with the young guy calling his team’s offense and other players into question. Lillard responded to the video posted by Bleacher Report, calling Porter Jr., and those who defended the comments, out in a string of tweets.
Dame on MPJ: pic.twitter.com/kU2VNl17XZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2020
“Smdh,” Lillard responded to the first video, before giving a bit more detail in replies to others. “Yes he is wrong. If you know you know and ima leave it at that,” he responded to one Twitter user, who said that Porter “isn’t technically wrong.”
He later said that those who agree with Michael Porter Jr.’s takeaway “think on a selfish level.”
Damian Lillard doesn’t quite lay out his exact issue with Porter, but it seems like a fair bet to say that he isn’t a fan of the young player calling into question his coaches’ strategy or his teammates’ abilities to the media, even if that isn’t quite what Porter intended there.
The Denver Nuggets have hung with the super talented Los Angeles Clippers for most of this series. In Game 3, the Nuggets entered the fourth quarter up 88-84, before the Clippers put the clamps down defensively, outscoring the team 29-19 in the final frame to take home a 113-107 win. Last night, it was the first quarter, in which the Clippers jumped out to a 26-12 lead. The Nuggets outscored them 73-70 through the final three quarters, but it was too little too late.
Game 5 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 11. It is officially a must-win for Porter and the Nuggets.
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