Michael Porter Jr.: Team 'had my back' after brother's sentencing

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. says his teammates have had his back in recent days amid the sentencing of his younger brother Coban Porter to six years in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed a woman in Colorado last year.

The sentencing Friday came just two days after another of Porter's younger brothers, Jontay Porter, was banned from the NBA amid a betting scandal.

"Definitely tried to compartmentalize, some bad and sad stuff happened to a couple of my brothers. But I got, you know, 15, 16 more brothers in here, so I knew I had to be here for them and come in here and do my job and try to prepare to do it at a high level," Porter said Saturday night after his Nuggets went up 1-0 in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Porter missed Nuggets practice Friday to testify on his brother's behalf at his hearing. Coban Porter had pleaded guilty in February to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault as part of a plea agreement. According to The Denver Post, prosecutors on Friday said Coban Porter was speeding at the time of the crash and had a blood alcohol level of .19, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Michael Porter Jr. said each of his teammates texted him and told him "that they got my back if I needed anything, they got me."

"To have these guys understand why I missed practice yesterday and just had my back has been big for me," he said.

Porter had a strong game in the 114-103 victory over Los Angeles, scoring 19 points to go along with 8 rebounds in 38 minutes.

"It's a hard thing to do, but I think when you're on the court, you don't think about it," Nuggets star Nikola Jokic said of Porter after the game. "That's why basketball is such a beautiful thing, that you don't think about nothing except what's going on on the floor. Before and after of course the stuff hits you, but we all reached out to him. It's a thing that of course family is the first thing, but we are some kind of family too.

"Hopefully he's going to find peace and be in a good spot mentally."

Porter has been with the Nuggets since they drafted him in 2018 out of Missouri. He missed the majority of his lone season with the Tigers and his entire rookie year in Denver with back injuries. He also missed all but the first nine games of the 2021-22 season after another back issue required him to get another surgery.

However, he has bounced back in the years since and played a career-high 81 games for the defending champions this season.

"We're human. We carry our emotions and things that go on off of the court onto the court, but I'm mentally tough. I've been through a lot through my whole career, so you know it was another one of those things I had to play through," Porter said.