LOS ANGELES, USA – Rookie Michael Porter Jr put on a shooting clinic, scoring a career-high 25 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 124-116 NBA victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, January 2 (Friday, January 3, Philippine time).
Porter came off the bench and connected on 11 of 12 shots from the field – a 91.7% success rate – as the Nuggets shook off a slow start and rebounded from a New Year’s Eve loss to the Houston Rockets.
“I felt really comfortable out there,” Porter said. “It’s amazing to start the year like this. It’s an amazing feeling and I have my teammates and coaches to thank.”
The Pacers raced to a 14-point lead with 5:23 remaining in the 1st quarter, with the Nuggets’ efforts to get back on terms hindered by foul trouble for Nikola Jokic.
Denver wouldn’t take the lead until Gary Harris drained a three-pointer with 9:16 left in the 3rd to make it 73-72.
Porter poured in 10 points in the 3rd quarter and Jokic added 8 of his 22 points in the period as the Nuggets took a 92-88 lead into the final frame.
Denver opened the 4th on an 11-6 scoring run and the Pacers – led by Jeremy Lamb’s 30 points –couldn’t recover.
Jokic – forced into 3 fouls in just 8 minutes in the first half – scored 20 points in just 16 minutes after the interval to help the Nuggets notch their third win in 4 games.
They stayed in 2nd place in the Western Conference (24-10) – half a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, who hosted the Detroit Pistons later Thursday.
“This was a really good win for us,” said Nuggets coach Mike Malone, noting that the Pacers were 15-3 on their home floor going into the contest. “I like how we responded after that tough loss in Houston.” – Rappler.com