Landry Shamet is known more for spotting up from 3-point range than for arena-rattling dunks, but the reserve guard emphatically threw one down to uplift the Barclays Center crowd in the Nets’ series-opening victory against the Bucks.
Shamet collected a zipped pass from Kyrie Irving in transition and dunked over Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday to give the Nets an 11-point lead in the third quarter of their 115-107 Game 1 win on Saturday.
“I just got to remind y’all, man, I’m athletic,” Shamet said before Monday’s Game 2 in Brooklyn. “I have this [reputation], ‘I’m just a catch-and-shoot shooter,’ but I’ve got some athleticism to me, and that was kind of like just a little rim grazer.
“So it was good to obviously get that energy in the building again, too. It felt good.”
The flush was Shamet’s only bucket on three shot attempts in 12 minutes of action; he missed his two attempts from long distance.
The third-year shooting guard stressed that he doesn’t need to be reminded by Nets coach Steve Nash that everyone needs to contribute more with James Harden out for Game 2. Harden re-injured his hamstring in the first minute of the series opener.
“No, it’s not really necessary. This is the playoffs, and it’s a given that if one guy goes down other guys are gonna have to step up and fill a bigger void,” said Shamet, who averaged 9.3 points per game during 61 regular-season appearances. “I don’t think there’s any necessary conversation that needs to be had.
“It’s just me, along with everybody else on our team, being ready for increased responsibility and more to do when one guy goes now.”
The Nets only played eight games with their assembled Big 3 of Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant on the court together during the regular season before their five-game ousting of Boston in the first round.
“At this point, like I’ve talked about before, we’ve obviously dealt with our fair share of adversity throughout the season, which sucks in the moment, but it’s a good thing in preparing you for the inevitability and knowing that things like this are going to come up if you want to make a long run,” the 24-year-old Shamet said.
“So we’re equipped, whatever comes forward and comes forth with all of it … we’re in a good place in being able to manage and handle things like this.”
The former Wichita State star added that doing “the little things” at both ends of the court are as important at this time of year as any highlight-reel dunks he can provide.
“You don’t have to do big, spectacular things,” Shamet said. “I think everybody’s got to do their jobs and be that much more locked-in on the little things and the small things.
“It’s not just scoring or playmaking on the offensive end when James goes out. There’s just more minutes there and more opportunity to do all the little things the right way, and that’s all I’m focusing on … my mindset is more on the defensive end and being locked-in and being valuable on that end.”