LeBron James denies Denver chance to write another amazing comeback story – The Denver Post

Michael Porter Jr. isn’t shy — except when he shouldn’t be. With Nikola Jokic in foul trouble early, and the Lakers defense fixated on Jamal Murray, somebody else needed to step up and hit some shots in the first quarter. And wouldn’t you know it, MPJ had no issue being that guy — driving to the lane for a left-handed scoop shot, nailing a 3-pointer with a hand in his face and even throwing the ball to himself off the backboard ala Moses Malone and finishing at the rim. Of course, he also had a couple of ticky-tack fouls that gave the Lakers easy and-1s at the rim. As is often the case, there’s give and take with the rookie.

When to foul, and when not to. Once again, fouls were a thing in Game 5, with Jokic logging his third with 9:32 left in the second quarter and Gary Harris his third midway through the same period. One of Jokic’s was most certainly questionable — the offensive foul Alex Caruso sold with Oscar-worthy gusto in the paint. But his first was simply a bad decision — intentionally stopping a 3-on-1 L.A. fast break by grabbing a Lakers ballhandler just two minutes into the game. The way the Lakers have targeted Jokic for contact throughout the series, he should’ve just surrendered the fastbreak layup so early in the game rather than pick up a cheap foul. It was a decision that ultimately cost him.

Comeback Kids vs. the Close-out King. The script was all set. 3-1 series deficit, check. Double-digit hole to dig out of, check. Injury adversity, check. Heck, we even had a Paul Millsap-v-Opposing Team Irritant showdown (Dwight Howard this time, instead of Marcus Morris). Then Jerami Grant started cooking, scoring 14 in the third quarter. And with 11 seconds left in the frame, the game was tied. It was the last time that would be the case. LeBron James — the man you don’t want to see trailing 3-1 — wouldn’t let the Nuggets rewrite another comeback story. Now come some hard decisions for Denver. Grant is likely a free agent. Millsap, Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig definitely are. The Nuggets should do everything they can to bring Grant back. But there’s a very real chance at least one of those other three have played their last game for Denver.