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Michael Porter Jr. on Jontay Porter’s ban, other brother’s sentencing

Michael Porter Jr.’s big Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers came during a difficult week for the Denver Nuggets forward, whose family is navigating separate issues involving two of his brothers.

Jontay Porter, 24, was hit with a lifetime ban from the NBA on Wednesday after an investigation found the former Toronto Raptors center committed multiple gambling-related offenses.

On Friday, former University of Denver guard Coban Porter, 22, received a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in a January 2023 drunk driving crash in Denver that left a woman dead.

“Definitely tried to compartmentalize some bad and sad stuff [that] happened to a couple of my brothers, but I got 15, 16 more brothers in here,” Michael Porter Jr. said after Saturday’s 114-103 win in the first round of the playoffs.

“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, 25, scored 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds in Game 1. He missed practice Friday, he said, and heard from his teammates, who shared their support for him amid his family’s off-court turmoil.

“That’s why basketball is such a beautiful thing,” said Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who led Denver with 32 points and 12 rebounds. “You don’t think about nothing except what’s going on the floor. Before and after, of course, the stuff hits you, but we all reached out to [Porter]. Of course, family is the first thing, but we are some kind of family, too. Hopefully he’s going to find peace and he’s going to be in a good spot mentally.”

The NBA banned Jontay Porter after the probe found he divulged “confidential information” to a gambler before a March 20 game in which he played only 20 minutes, claiming to feel ill. The gambler had bet $80,000 on a parlay proposition for the undrafted center to underperform.

Jontay Porter also bet on 13 NBA games he didn’t play in between January and March, the NBA said.

“We’re human,” Michael Porter Jr. said Saturday. “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 it was just another one of those things I had to play through.”

A former first-round pick, Michael Porter Jr. averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 per game this season for the Nuggets, who are the defending NBA champions.

Game 2 in Denver against LeBron James’ Lakers is set to begin Monday night at 10 p.m. EDT.

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