NBA Stories: What a Night for Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Porter Jr

2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Last night’s matchup was shrouded by expert predictions that the Rockets would dominate the Cavs but against all odds, the game remained tight throughout.

Cleveland even took the lead at times, with 19-year-old rookie Kevin Porter Jr taking on the defensive challenge that is James Harden. However, Harden put up a massive 55-point game – 20 of which he hit in the fourth quarter – to lead Houston to a 116-110 victory. 

In his 29 impactful minutes, Porter Jr racked up a career-high 24 points off the bench on 9-of-15 for shooting and arguably enjoyed the best game of his pro career. He polished off his shooting performance with three assists, two rebounds and three steals, knocking down three three-pointers in the final quarter to keep the game cosy.

By far the most electrifying moment came with a third-quarter 24-0 run for the Cavs which stretched into the fourth with Porter Jr right in the middle. Cleveland’s lead spilled into double figures at one point but that all came to a standstill with a floater by Harden which eventually saw the Cav’s lead slashed to nine points.

The pressure seemed too much for Cleveland who fumbled several turnovers, including two from Porter Jr, as they’re chances of winning slipped away. Harden amped up his already sharp game for the Rockets with his patented step-backs and a slick attack off the dribble. Porter Jr tried his best to contain him but there were just some shots he could do nothing about.

The Cavs were down by two with just under two minutes remaining when Porter Jr reignited the flame, drilling a corner three to put them back on top by one. Harden came right back to hand the one-point edge to the Rockets at 1.03 on the clock. But the Cavs were done by this point as their turnovers proved costly, giving PJ Tucker a wide-open corner three.

This marks the Cavs eighth consecutive loss and 14th of the past 15 games. However, the exciting matchup of Harden and Porter Jr brought the spotlight over a rookie with seemingly endless potential.

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