LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Forward Michael Porter Jr. scored a career-high 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Denver Nuggets in their 121-113 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Nikola Jokic posted a triple-double of 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to help the Nuggets strengthen their hold on third place in the Western Conference standings.
Porter, a 22-year-old who averages 7.5 points, had a previous career high of 25.
“All I’ve got to focus on is bringing the energy and the effort, lock in on defense and the rest will take care of itself,” said Porter, who made 12 of 16 shots.
Porter led Nathan Hale High School of Seattle to the Class 3A state championship in 2017. He went to Missouri to play college ball but had back surgery in November 2017 that limited him to 53 minutes over three games for the Tigers.
Because of the health issue, Porter — once considered a potential No. 1 pick — slipped to No. 14 in the first round of the 2018 draft and had another surgery in July 2018.
“He has got tremendous size, length, he can score the ball, he’s got soft touch and he does so (scores) in a very efficient manner,” Denver coach Michael Malone said of Porter. “He can also rebound at a very high level. Tonight, we saw all those things put together.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points for the Thunder.
Lakers clinch No. 1 seed in West
Anthony Davis had 42 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs by beating the Utah Jazz 116-108.
The Lakers (51-15) own a six-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Clippers and have five seeding games left before starting their first playoff run since 2013.
“If you’re winning enough games to secure the No. 1 seed, you’re building the right habits that are going to be necessary for you to win in the playoffs,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
• Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and rookie Zion Williamson added 23 as New Orleans beat the Memphis Grizzlies 109-99.
Williamson, the first player drafted last year, had seven rebounds and tied a career high with five assists in 25 minutes.
“My competitive spirit was there and I’m glad Coach (Alvin Gentry) and the whole team trusted me to finish the game out,” Williamson said.
The Pelicans are 2½ games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies in the Western Conference. The ninth-place team can qualify for a play-in matchup against the eighth-place team as long as it is no more than four games behind. New Orleans still needs to move past San Antonio and Portland to get to ninth place.
• Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points and made seven three-pointers, and the defending champion Toronto Raptors added to their strong restart with a 107-103 victory over the Miami Heat.
VanVleet, set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, finished 7 of 12 from beyond the three-point arc and made all 13 of his free throws.
• T.J. Warren kept up his red-hot restart with 34 more points, helping the Indiana Pacers pull away from the Washington Wizards 111-100. Two days earlier, Warren scored a career-high 53 points.
• Shake Milton made a go-ahead three-pointer with 7.2 seconds left and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 132-130.