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Michael Porter Jr. lays blame on himself for Denver Nuggets early playoff exit

Bill Hanzlik would like to see the Denver Nuggets improve their bench
Bill Hanzlik would like to see the Denver Nuggets improve their bench 03:58

Michael Porter Jr. says if he had "played his part," the Denver Nuggets would probably be the ones preparing to host the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals this week instead of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game Seven
Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Rudy Gober of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter in Game 7 of the at Ball Arena on Sunday. C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

Porter was stifled by Minnesota's stellar defense in the Western Conference Semifinals perhaps more than any other Nugget. After averaging 22.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers, the sharpshooter was held to 11.3 points and 5.4 boards against the Wolves.

In postgame interviews, Porter blamed himself for the defending champions having to make earlier-than-expected summer vacation plans.

"There are a lot of things we could've done differently as a team," Porter said. "But I know if I would've played my part, we would've won this series. And I've got to live with that."

Porter entered the playoffs with a heavy heart after one brother was sentenced to six years in jail for vehicular homicide and another brother was banned from the NBA for life for his role in a gambling scandal.

"I'm not going to sit here and act like it wasn't a burden and I wasn't thinking about it all day every day," Porter said. "But that's still no excuse. I'm a better player than I played in this series. I'm a better shooter than I shot in this series. In the NBA, you have to be able to separate your off-the-court matters with your on-the-court-play."

In his recap of Sunday's Game 7 loss, Sam Quinn of CBS Sports wrote that moving forward, Porter needs "to generate more of his own shots rather than relying strictly on the system."

"Denver is paying Porter Jr. a max salary primarily for his offense. He's never averaged even 18 points per game in the postseason, and was well below that during their championship run at 13.4 points per game," Quinn wrote.

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