Northwest Notes: MPJ, Nuggets, Watson, Thunder, Reath

After scoring 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in his first 16 minutes of action on Friday to help the Nuggets build an 18-point lead, Michael Porter Jr. attempted just three more field goals in his final 15 minutes as Denver’s lead slipped away and Orlando pulled out a 122-120 victory.

Asked after the game about his recent trend of disappearing from the Nuggets’ offense after getting off to hot starts, Porter suggested it’s an issue that affects the team more broadly rather than applying specifically to him, per Bennett Durando of The Denver Post.

“I think it’s something we’re collectively still trying to master. Like, continuing to find guys’ shots throughout the midst of the game,” Porter said. “Because sometimes we play different in the first quarter than we do in the fourth quarter. … And that’s a lot of teams. But Aaron (Gordon) for example: He got most of his shots probably in the first quarter. Didn’t really touch the ball in the third quarter or the fourth quarter much.

“.. It’s a tough balance. When you’ve got a lot of guys who are very capable, sometimes you go a long stretch without really touching the ball. So for me, I kind of realize if I’m gonna get some shot attempts up, it’s gonna have to come in the flow of the game, and I’m gonna have to really, at times, be aggressive and things like that.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Heading into Friday’s game, the Nuggets had the NBA’s eighth-best defensive rating, compared to the No. 25 ranking at the same time a year ago. In another story for The Denver Post, Durando explores why the team has been significantly better on that end of the court in the first half of this season, singling out second-year wing Peyton Watson as a key difference-maker. Watson wasn’t part of the rotation last season, but his 109.6 defensive rating this season is the best mark among Denver’s regulars.
  • Even without making any moves on the trade market, the Thunder – who rank fourth in offensive rating and sixth in defensive rating – already look like a legitimate contender, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman, who argues that the club certainly has the assets to make a deal but should be in no rush to do so before the “missing ingredient” on the roster becomes more apparent.
  • The Trail Blazers, who now have two openings on their 15-man roster, are a virtual lock to promote big man Duop Reath from his two-way deal to a standard contract sooner or later, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. However, it’s unclear whether that move is in Portland’s short-term plans or if it will happen sometime after the trade deadline. The Blazers will have to make at least one roster addition by January 20, but that could just be a 10-day signing.
View Comments (5)