NBA Preseason 2019: Michael Porter Jr. debuts in Denver Nuggets win at Portland; Deandre Ayton shines in Phoenix Suns home win

Deandre Ayton and Michael Porter Jr.
Deandre Ayton and Michael Porter Jr. (NBA)

Division rivals the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets tipped-off their preseason with an exhibition matchup at the Moda Center in Portland.

The visitors came away with the 105-94 victory , with five players scoring in double figures, led by 14 points and five rebounds from Paul Millsap, while Malik Beasley added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.

The game was like any other preseason game - starters playing limited minutes and some stars not playing (Nikola Jokic) - but this was a huge game for one Michael Porter Jr..

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Drafted 14th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Nuggets, Porter Jr. was checking into a basketball game for the first time in 571 days . He finished the game with nine points and three rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting in 17 minutes of action.

He spent all of his rookie season rehabbing from a hip injury he suffered during his lone college year at the University of Missouri.

The Nuggets will next compete against the Los Angeles Clippers after two days of rest, while the Blazers will next host Maccabi Haifa after two days of rest.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns and the Minnesota Timberwolves also got their preseasons underway, with last year's no. 1 pick Deandre Ayton impressing in his matchup with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Ayton recorded a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, along with two assists and two blocks in just 21 minutes as he led the Suns to a 111-106 victory . For the Timberwolves, Towns was the biggest contributor with a double-double of his own, recording 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

The Suns, who celebrated their first victory under their new coach Monty Williams on his birthday, will next play the Kings in Sacramento on Friday, while the Timberwolves will take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday at the Chase Center.

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