KEY POINTS

  • Monty Williams made the decision to play Landry Shamet and Bismack Biyombo more minutes in their Game 5 win
  • Cameron Payne and JaVale McGee were relegated to the bench for most of the game
  • The Suns have an opportunity to close out the series in Game 6 on Thursday, May 12

The Phoenix Suns came out with a 118-80 win in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks to take the 3-2 series lead all thanks to some changes from head coach Monty Williams.

During the postgame press conference, the newly-minted NBA Coach of the Year was asked about the decision to bench backup centers Cameron Payne and JaVale McGee in favor of Landry Shamet and Bismack Biyombo respectively.

“Well, it’s just a decision. You don’t know how it’s going to work out, but when we looked at some of the matchups and the energy that Biz (Bismack Biyombo) brings to the game, it was a hard decision,” Williams said of the matter.

“I tried to play all three [centers], but we felt like Biz’s energy would allow for us to make energy plays. We just went with Biz tonight because we knew he was going to bring that kind of energy.”

Williams also made sure to note that they know McGee can play just as well, if not better, as Biyombo, but the motor on Biyombo and his ability to switch on every player that the Mavericks fielded allowed him to get on the floor more than McGee.

The same can be said of Shamet getting more minutes over Payne, according to Williams.

“Landry [Shamet], in his minutes, has shown that he can guard and stay in front of the ball a lot better than most people think. He can space the floor and his ability to handle the ball and initiate with Book (Devin Booker) allowed him to be on the floor with Book,” he shared.

To Williams and his coaching staff’s credit, the lineup change worked in their favor as Shamet and Biyombo had a plus/minus of four and 17 respectively which points to their effectiveness.

The Mavericks exploited the times when Payne and McGee were on the floor during Games 3 and 4 to tie the series but failed to do so against the combination of Shamet and Biyombo.

However, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd needs to find an answer going into Game 6 on their home floor this coming Thursday, May 12 as the Suns will likely field the same pairing for most of the game.

With the opportunity to close out the series in six games and move on to the Western Conference Finals, the Suns will be coming out guns blazing as they look to repeat last season’s feat of making it to the NBA Finals.

Landry Shamet, Phoenix Suns
Landry Shamet #14 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after a three-point shot against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 04, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 129-109. Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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