Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. after clutch Game 5: “I stand by what I say”

Michael Porter Jr. saved his harshest words for the Nuggets after Game 4. But the kid got in the last word of Game 5. And it spoke volumes.

“Everything I said, I stand by what I say,” said Porter, whose seven points over the game’s final 71 seconds helped Denver hold on for a 111-105 win Friday night in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Clippers. “And I didn’t mean it in any type of disrespectful way or anything like that. (My) coaches and teammates, they all know that.”

After being held scoreless for 46 minutes Friday, MPJ netted seven of Denver’s final nine points.

His 3-pointer with 1:11 left was his biggest shot, pushing the Nuggets’ tenuous 2-point lead up to 105-100. And his block of Clippers center Ivica Zubac with 36 seconds to go fired up a team that had trailed by as many as 16 points.

“He was locked in,” said Denver teammate Jamal Murray, who scored 26 points. “And it showed when it mattered.”

Porter’s heroics helped Denver force a Game 6 on Sunday and helped move the Nuggets to 4-0 this postseason when facing a win-or-go-home elimination game.

The franchise’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft raised eyebrows — and drew some social media fire — after his comments following the Nuggets’ loss in Game 4, a contest in which he scored 15 points in the first half, but none after the break.

“I just didn’t touch the ball,” Porter said at the time. “(The Clippers) didn’t do anything different.”

It wasn’t the first time the 6-foot-10 forward gave his honest, unfiltered opinion on — well, pick your subject.

But the timing and forum for this take allegedly didn’t sit well with the Nuggets coaching staff or veteran teammates, who, according to TNT sideline reporter Jared Greenberg, would’ve preferred the concerns were relayed in the locker room and not in front of a bunch of microphones. Porter managed to have an even bigger say in Game 5. And it’s given the Nuggets new life in what had been a fairly lopsided series.

“That (shot) says a lot,” said Nuggets power forward Paul Millsap, whose 14 third-quarter points helped Denver hang around. “Mike’s a very confident basketball player. I mean, (when) he gets the opportunity, he wants to show his talent … so it’s up to us, the guys around him, to help him (get) better. And we will.”

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