Kevin Porter Jr. is emerging for the Cleveland Cavaliers

The 19-year-old has been a bright spot for the Cavs

James Rapien
December 11, 2019 - 11:42 pm
Dec 11, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) loses his balance while guarding Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kevin Porter Jr. (4) in the third quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Spo

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, OH — The Cavaliers are going through something most rebuilding teams have to deal with — a losing streak. They’ve lost eight straight and 14 of their last 15 games.

When a young team is struggling it can be hard to find bright spots, but one rookie has shined for the Cavaliers.

Kevin Porter Jr. put on a show for Cavs fans on Wednesday night. He scored a career-high 24 points and went toe-to-toe with James Harden down the stretch is a 116-110 loss to the Rockets.

Porter finished with 16 fourth quarter points. He had 10 of the Cavaliers' 17 straight points that they scored at the start of the fourth quarter.

“The kid has something special in him,” Tristan Thompson said. “He’s a dark horse.”

Porter made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and showed the home crowd a glimpse of what the future could be like at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

“My first critical game that I was closing and definitely the energy and atmosphere is different,” Porter said. “You feel that energy from the crowd and you feed off that. The game just seems like it’s a nail-biter and I like being in that position for sure. It was definitely fun.”

Porter hopes this is just the beginning for him as he tries to make a name for himself in the NBA. He guarded Harden at times on Wednesday and tried to make it hard on the former MVP.

It's not the first time the two have played against one another. They worked out together in the offseason and shared a moment after the game.

“Me and him are very close," Porter said of Harden. “I had an opportunity to spend some time with him in the summer, training with him and things like that. Definitely a big brother to me and one of my idols in the league."

The Cavaliers selected Porter with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s emerging for a young team that needs positive energy.

The Cavs haven’t been able to break out of a month long slump. Not only has it put a damper on a season that got off to a solid start, but the organization has Kevin Love’s future hanging over its’ head.

Porter has been a breath of fresh air.

Not only did the 19-year-old go back and forth with Harden on Wednesday. He’s been one of the Cavs' best players recently.

Porter is averaging 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his last five games. He’s shooting 53 percent from the field (25-for-47) and 52 percent from 3-point range (11-for-21) over that span.

“Every timeout, every sideline discussion — he’s so tuned into the coaches,” head coach John Beilein said. “He’s embraced coaching at a high level right now and it’s paying off.”