Denver Nuggets rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. came up clutch for his team in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Nuggets now still have a shot at reaching the Western Conference Finals. With just over a minute to go in the game -- Porter, who previously hadn't made a shot from the field -- fired a three-pointer which went in to give the Nuggets a five-point lead.
The Porter three sealed the game as the Nuggets won 111-105 to reduce the deficit to 3-2 in the series against the Clippers. "What you love about Michael is, whether it's his youthful inexperience or not really understanding the magnitude of the situation, he has supreme confidence," Nuggets coach Mike Malone said, per ESPN.
"The guy is a tireless worker. He's a gym rat. And for every shot he makes in a game, he's had thousands upon thousands of reps in a practice gym. So what it says is that he has confidence in himself, we have confidence in him, and maybe we didn't find him, he didn't make many shots before that, but every time that kid shoots the ball, I think it's going in."
Porter blocked out criticism
Following Game 4 -- in which Porter scored 15 points in the first half but then went scoreless in the second half -- he blamed teammates and coaches for not giving him the ball. Porter drew criticism from the media and fellow NBA players, most notable Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Porter, who scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in Game 5 against the Clippers, said he "blocked out" all the criticism and everything was resolved within the locker room. "I kinda tried to block that out.
Everything I said -- I stand by what I say. And I didn't mean it in any type of disrespectful way or anything like that," Porter said. "Coaches and my teammates, they all know that. We talked as a team. Everybody was on the same page coming into today.
But Dame and those guys, I respect all those guys -- especially those superstars in the league talking to a young guy like me. You want to listen. You don't want to have an ego and think you're always right. So I took what those guys said, and I listened to it. Everybody has their opinion, but that was blocked out before today, and everybody was on the same page."