Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. makes first NBA start: Twitter reacts
With the Denver Nuggets missing both Gary Harris and Paul Millsap due to injury for Sunday’s matchup against the Sacramento Kings, head coach Michael Malone opted to insert Michael Porter Jr into the starting lineup with Jerami Grant, and Denver’s rookie didn’t disappoint.
Ultimately, Porter Jr. finished with 19 points and six rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting from the field in his 26 minutes of action, which only builds on the work the young forward has put in throughout the 2019-20 season.
“I thought he was great,” Mason Plumlee said. “He hit shots, but he affected the game in other ways. He’s going to help us a lot.”
With a lineup of Jamal Murray, Will Barton III, Porter Jr., Grant and Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets got a look at a potential lineup of the future, and it thrived in Sunday’s victory.
Denver held a small advantage through the early portion of the first quarter, as Porter Jr. was active early and finished with six points, three rebounds and one assist in his eight first quarter minutes.
Porter Jr. instantly helped fuel a 14-3 run for the Nuggets once he checked back in during the middle stages of the second quarter, which gave Denver momentum heading into the halftime break. The 21-year-old forward finished the half with 12 points and five rebounds as the Nuggets took a 62-57 lead.
In the second half, Porter Jr. continued to produce across the board for Denver. As the Nuggets looked to build on their momentum in the fourth quarter, Denver’s rookie forward went on a 5-0 scoring spurt in which he followed up a contested 3-pointer with a putback dunk that brought the Pepsi Center crowd to its feet.
“I didn’t expect those numbers, but I knew that if he was given minutes and a chance, he’s just too talented and the game comes too easy for him, especially offensively,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said.
After struggling to maintain a consistent role in the team’s rotation throughout the early stages of the season, Porter Jr. has carved out significant playing time in recent games and has seized the opportunities presented to him.
“He’s coming along and I appreciate how patient he’s been, since it has not been easy,” Malone added. “He gets a chance to start and I was excited for that opportunity for him and he went out and played great. This is just a glimpse of what’s to come.”
Porter Jr.’s highlight-worthy first start excited Nuggets fans on Twitter as well, with some of the best reaction included below.
When Michael Porter Jr starts to get comfortable the Nuggets are going to be scary
— Mo Tibbs (@JasterHR) December 30, 2019
— Will Petersen (@PetersenWill) December 30, 2019
6”10 with a smooth jump shot and decent handles? Let him get and stay healthy, Michael Porter Jr will be a cheat code
— Rela (@king_rela) December 30, 2019
Holy Michael Porter Jr., Nuggets basketball is officially scary. Really scary. He’s arriving.
— Chase Campbell (@Chase_KYK) December 30, 2019