After years of wondering whether he could become better on defense, the Denver Nuggets are reaping the rewards of Michael Porter Jr.’s efforts.

In the newest episode of the Pickaxe and Roll podcast, Ryan Blackburn breaks down the Denver Nuggets 125-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in their first ever In-Season Tournament game. Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic were the stars of the show, with Porter’s defense on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic a big reason why the Nuggets won the game.

According to, Porter held Doncic to just five points and one assist when directly matched up with the Slovenian superstar. Doncic also had five turnovers, shot just 2-of-8 from the field, 1-of-5 from three-point range, and attempted zero free throws. Porter was tremendous defensively and deserves plenty of credit.

Ryan discusses that, Jamal Murray’s pass-first mentality (13 assists), the Nuggets bench, and previews tonight’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Will the Nuggets rest Murray or any of their other starters?

The 2023-24 NBA season is officially here! Make sure to stay up with the latest in the world of Denver Nuggets basketball with the Pickaxe and Roll podcast. Catch Blackburn every week on the Mile High Sports podcast network or watch on the MHS YouTube channel for the best local coverage of Colorado sports.

Take your podcasts on the go when you download the all-new free Mile High Sports Radio mobile app for Apple or Android. Make sure to like, rate and subscribe to each episode, and be sure to follow Ryan across social media @NBABlackburn.