As the Clippers won 96-85 to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinal Series, with scoring difficulties plaguing the Nuggets in the second half, Porter had a simple explanation for explain why he couldn’t continue his scoring game.
“I just didn’t touch the ball,” he said. “They didn’t do anything different. ”
According to Second Spectrum data, Porter had 25 touches in the first half, third on the team behind stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. In the second half, Porter had just 12 touches, the seventh most on the team.
“It depends on the call of play, the coaches and which hands they want to put the ball in,” Porter said. “We continued to [Jokic] and [Murray] and they’re two amazing players, but I just think to beat them we have to get more players involved. We need to move the ball a little better. We can’t be predictable against this team. ”
Porter leaned on a solid Game 3, when he scored 18 points in 23 minutes, including an emphatic poster on Montrezl Harrell. In Game 4, he played 34 minutes and was on the ground to close out the game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
It’s no secret that Denver’s offense goes through Jokic and Murray, one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in the league. Via data from Second Spectrum, Murray and Jokic have combined for 175.5 touches per game this season, the second-most team-mates in the past five seasons. The only duo with more: Jokic and Murray last season.
But with his size and scoring ability, Porter is a potential X factor for the Nuggets. And although he’s a beginner, he feels comfortable letting it be known that he wants to be more involved.
“I think if I’m going to play on the pitch for several minutes I think I should express that,” he said. “I’m probably going to talk to the coaches and tell them what I see out there on the floor just letting them know, look, they know what we’re doing. We have to swing the ball. We have a lot of players who can play. basketball and scoring, so we have to get more guys involved. ”
Down 3-1, the Nuggets are in familiar territory, coming back from the same deficit in the first round against the Utah Jazz. They can learn from that experience, said coach Mike Malone, and that means winning the next game ahead of them. But he also acknowledged that the Clippers are a different game than Jazz.
“The same message will be what it was against Utah,” Malone said. “It wasn’t that we had to come back and win three games. That was, let’s win Game 5. And after that, let’s win one at a time. Let’s win 6 then win 7. We did it. is a different opponent. Very talented and deep team, but I think we have confidence in being a resilient group and a team that when everyone wrote us off, we found a way. “