The Nuggets are looking for answers after dropping their 2 straight to the Suns

Kevin Durant and Devin Booker needed a little more offensive help, someone to take the slightest bit of pressure on Phoenix’s high-scoring tandem.

Along with that came Landry Shamet, who elevated his game — five three-pointers, 19 points — as the Suns tied the second-round series at 2-2 against the Denver Nuggets.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives as Nikola Jokic (15) looks on at the Denver Nuggets center during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals game, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Phoenix.

Matt York/AP

It is the x-factors that help swing a moving chain Back to Mile High City Game 5 on Tuesday night. Philadelphia also plays Boston with that series tied for 2-all.

Durant and Booker They simply do What the stars do – shine. Same with Jamal Murray’s Nuggets Nikola Jokicwhose 53-point performance in a 129-124 loss on Sunday was overshadowed by a sideline brawl with Suns owner Matt Ichpeia (Jokic tied the game). $25,000 fine It is my league to make inappropriate contact).

Shamet definitely stepped up for Phoenix in Game 4. And in the previous contest, it was Cameron Payne who started in place of an injured Chris Paul and scored seven points, including a big three-pointer early in the fourth.

Now, it’s Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s turn to find a counter. Malone hinted that minutes could be extended for veteran point guard Reggie Jackson or perhaps more time on the floor for shooting guard Peyton Watson. It may also be a change of plans.

Anything to recover momentum from the sun.

“We owe it to ourselves to make sure we look at everything we can do to give us the best chance of winning,” Malone said. “Whether it’s adjusting the game plan, whether it’s adjusting the rotation, it’s all on the table.”

Booker was shining in Phoenix, shooting 79% from the floor and scoring 83 points in two games.

“He’s just looking for those moments to not only make those shots, but to send a message to his team that he can carry us,” Suns coach Monty Williams explained. “He’s practicing all those shots. You’ve seen it… He’s sitting here and telling you that even though he’s done those shots, we’ve got more work to do. That’s what I’ll say too.”

It was the bench press that provided a big boost for the Suns in Game 4. The Suns reserves surpassed the Nuggets reserves by a margin of 40-11, with Shamet leading. Terrence Ross and Jock Landal each added eight.

Denver Nuggets quarterback Nikola Jokic attempts a shot at Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA’s Western Conference Semifinals game, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 129-124.

Matt York/AP

“We knew this series wasn’t going to be easy. They have two of the few best scorers in this league on their team,” Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. said. “We have to figure out how to slow these guys down a bit.”

That and finding more options to take the offensive load off Murray and Jokic, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player who averaged 36.5 points, 14 rebounds and 9.5 assists.

Aaron Gordon had an impressive Game 1 23-point blast. In Game 2, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, including back-to-back passes that erased a deficit and put the Nuggets ahead well early in the fourth quarter.

“We have to take what they give us,” said Porter, 9 of 25 from Deep in the Series. “There are some ways that I think we can get everyone involved.”

76ERS in the Celtics

Series tied 2-2. Game 5, 7:30 p.m. EST, TNT

– NEED TO KNOW: James Harden’s blazing 3-pointer in the final seconds of overtime proved to be just what the 76ers needed to counter a late Celtics attack in Game 4 and send the Eastern Conference Semifinal series to Boston tied. in two matches each. Both teams have lost one game at home so far in the match, while they have won on the road.

– KEEP AN EYE: Turnover of 76. Coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that fatigue contributed to the Celtics’ ability to fight back from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter. But he plans to stick to the eight-man rotation. Harden (47) and Joel Embiid (46) led Philadelphia in minutes played in Game 4, with four starters scoring 40 or more.

Injury Control: Embiid’s minutes were the most he’d played since returning in Game 2 from a right knee injury. He admitted that overtime affected him late in the fourth game.

Pressing on: The Celtics. Upon further review, Boston head coach Joe Mazzola said he was going to take a time-out after Harden’s 3D signal in Boston’s 116-115 overtime loss in Game 4. Help us get 2-for-1 or several more possessions.” “Obviously, with (18.2 seconds) left, you want to get as many chances as possible. So I definitely learned from that.”

The sun is in the granules

Series tied 2-2. Game 5, 10 p.m. EST, TNT

— Need to know: The Nuggets have gone 39-7 at home this season, including 5-0 in the playoffs. “We did our job. They did their job,” said Jokic. “In the end, it will be a fun game.”

– Keep an Eye: Denver Defense. “Both games in Denver I felt our defense was great,” Malone said. “We left it somewhere in the desert. Phoenix didn’t make it.” “That has to be critical. If we’re going to go up 3-2 and control the series again, we have to start defending again.”

Injury watch: Paul remains day in and day out with a left thigh strain, but has started some work. “He’s just getting his shots and most likely seeing where he is,” said Williams. “But I haven’t had one official report on Chris. So nothing has changed for me.”

– Press on: Porter and Nuggets. The team was a combined 7-of-22 from 3-point range in Game 4, including 2-of-9 from Porter. This is after he hit six three-pointers in game three, “definitely a must-win,” Porter said of game five.

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