PHOENIX SUNS

Landry Shamet steps up for Suns in breakout showing vs. Nuggets

May 7, 2023, 8:14 PM | Updated: 11:26 pm

Suns stars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant have combined for more than half of Phoenix’s points in each of the first four games of the second-round series against the Denver Nuggets.

Landry Shamet — who had seven points in the series after Game 3 — stepped up to compliment the top scorers with 19 in the 129-124 Game 4 win at Footprint Center Sunday night to even the set at 2-2.

Shamet scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and became the first Suns player other than Booker and Durant to produce more than 14 points in a game this series.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters postgame that Shamet took advantage of how Denver covered the stars and found space to shoot.

“Give credit to Landry Shamet,” Malone said. “Knocks down five threes. We were trying to make other guys beat us not named Booker, not Durant. Both those guys got 36 and Shamet got 19 off the bench. He and (Terrence) Ross made seven threes, that was big.”

His fourth-quarter barrage started with a three-pointer as 8:33 remained, which gave Phoenix a 105-100 lead.

He hit another shot from deep 58 seconds later to extend the lead to eight points after Durant swung the ball, taking advantage of the Nuggets’ rotations:

Shamet fired off another three ball less than a minute later, and the Suns led 111-102. This time, Booker took on a double team and fired a pass to Shamet open in the corner:

 

The hot hand’s fifth and final 3 of the game pushed the Suns’ lead to 116-106 with just under five minutes remaining.

Shamet did not make another field goal, but he assisted in one of the defensive moments of the series thus far.

The Nuggets had the ball down by three with just under 30 seconds remaining when Shamet poked the ball away from Denver center Nikola Jokic, which led to a jump ball that Phoenix won.

Suns free throws iced the game, sending the series back to Denver on Tuesday with no close-out chances.

Head coach Monty Williams commended Shamet’s performance on both ends and ability to overcome mental challenges the NBA presents.

“It’s two-fold for him, two sides of the ball, his defense allows for us to not have to put Book on the main guy every possession,” Williams said postgame. “On the other end, the execution versus double teams and him taking and making shots speaks to his mentality, the work he puts in.

“His mentality is something we need … His shot making versus their coverage was huge for us.”

Shamet set a new playoff career high on Sunday, surpassing his previous 18 scored in 2020 as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

He had yet to score double digits in a playoff game for the Suns since coming over ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Shamet — who did not even play in Game 2 — was a plus-15 in Game 4, second to only center Jock Landale at plus-16 for Phoenix on the night.

“I understand there’s going to be ups and downs,” Shamet said postgame. “We have a really deep team and a good team … I just want to win, I don’t really care about the other stuff, the noise, the nonsense, the whatever that goes on. I just want to win.”

Game 5 at Ball Arena is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday night on 98.7, ArizonaSports.com and the Arizona Sports app.

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