San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was impressed with the performances of Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. as he dropped a major praise on both players post-game. The Spurs, who were desperate to beat the Nuggets and keep their playoff hopes alive, failed to do so as the Nuggets won 132-126 to improve to 45-23 record in the Western Conference.
Jokic scored 25 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished out 11 assists, while Porter led all scorers with 30 points and 15 rebounds. "Porter is a fine young talent," Popovich said, as quoted on ESPN. "And Jokic, he's like a reincarnation of Larry Bird.
He does everything. He's amazing. They were great." Popovich tried everything to defend Jokic bit it turned out there was nothing Spurs players could have done to stop the Nuggets star. "They've never seen anything like that," Popovich said of his younger players trying to defend Jokic.
"He's stepping out and making 3's. He's rebounding the ball, there should be an NBA rule, you can't tap it to yourself. He's Moses Malone. You know, he's down there and he jumps about a quarter of an inch, then he taps it two or three times and then he gets it and he lays it back in.
"It's not just luck. He does it all the time. He is great on the board, he's obviously maybe the best big man passer in the league. If not, then close to it. He's a pretty special player."
Nuggets coach Mike Malone praises his young stud
"I think the greatest challenge for any young, talented player like Michael Porter is consistency," Malone said.
"Can I bring that level of play every single night? Michael Porter, along with everybody else on our roster and coaching staff did not do a good job in the Miami game... People are reporting that I singled Michael Porter out.
I didn't single anybody out. I singled us out." Malone finds it funny that Porter wasn't selected to play in this year's NBA Rising Stars game as he definitely believes he is one of the most talented young players in the league.
"The funny thing is, I thought about this today thinking about Michael Porter," Malone said. "Michael Porter was not selected to play in the Rising Stars game this year. "Are you kidding me?"