Wake-up call: Porter responds with vets ailing

Wake-up call: Porter responds with vets ailing
April 12, 2014, 6:00 am
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Illness and injury opens the door for Otto Porter, and he ran through it to produce his best game as a pro. The rookie tied his career-high with nine points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in a pivotal victory at the Orlando Magic. 

Trevor Ariza has been dealing with side effects from the flu that he has had for more than a week. Martell Webster has had issues with his left ankle and back this season. So in a must-win, Porter was called on to play a season-high 26 minutes. He took a season-high 10 shots.  

"Guys need rest. Martell, Trevor need rest. It gives opportunities for me to step in," Porter said.

The Wizards (41-38) trailed by as many as 14 points but made a run to get back in it by halftime with Porter on the floor. He had a lob for a dunk. He had an acrobatic reverse layup. He ran to the rim after missing a three-point attempt to tap in Marcin Gortat's missed putback to give Washington a 92-82 lead in the fourth. The victory put the Wizards back into the No. 6 seed in the East with three games remaining.

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Opponents aren't focusing on him while on the floor, so Porter, a 6-8 forward, is intent on making them pay. 

"Simple things like always crashing the boards. My guys, they're not paying attention to me," he said. "I try to take advantage of things like that. Going in, tapping rebounds back out to John (Wall) or whoever or tapping them in. Just trying to be active around the ball all the times."

Webster only played eight minutes. Ariza played just 28, his fewest since Jan. 7. 

"He's a bright guy. He's a smart guy. He's a humble guy. He works hard every day," Gortat said of Porter. "The guy is working his tail off. It's obvious sooner or later he's going to get his opportunity. He did a perfect job."