Clippers rookie guard Landry Shamet says he wants to be nervous before a game because that actually calms him to a degree.
Well, when Shamet knocked down a three-pointer with 15.9 seconds left to give the Clippers a 133-131 lead, to help them crawl all the way out of a 31-point hole in the third quarter, his nerves were not a problem at all for him.
It was a big moment for Shamet and the Clippers, a moment that helped pull out a shocking 135-131 victory over the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
With Shamet’s big-time shot and his 12 points on the night, the Clippers have tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1 and have taken home-court advantage away from the Warriors in this Western Conference playoff series.
“There were no nerves, not at that point in the game,” Shamet said. “Nervous early on I think means you care. If you’re not worried, you should be a little nervous. That’s just how I look at it. That’s how I operate. That’s how I perform my best. But once you’re in the flow of the game, you’re not thinking and you’re just playing.”
Shamet wound up taking the shot because the Warriors doubled-teamed Lou Williams, who had scored 36 points and was carrying the Clippers in their dramatic and unreal comeback.
But Williams found rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the middle of the court.
“That shot was huge,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “The best part of the game for me was Shai got stuck with the ball and he made a play, and then Lou trusted Sham and Sham makes a three. Those are two rookies. The last two out of three possessions, our rookies were involved in the scoring.”
When the shocked Warriors called a timeout, Shamet was greeted by his teammates with high-fives and chest-bumps.
“Shai made a hell of a play, driving, getting it over the hands of [Andre] Iguodala and passing it to me,” Shamet said. “I had the easy part. I just had to shoot it. That’s what I’m here to do. Shots weren’t falling early, but I’m just going to keep shooting them.”
Shamet was four for nine from the field, all of his shots taken from three-point range.
“I ain’t made a shot to put us ahead in the playoffs yet,” Shamet said, smiling. “So, yeah, for sure, that’s the biggest for me.”
Shamet had made just one field in Game 1, missing his other six shots.
He finished with three points in that loss.
But he still sees dealing with his nerves as a good thing.
“I think I’m always a little nervous before games,” Shamet said.
“I always tell myself, like, ‘Be a little worried if you’re not nervous.’ It means you probably don’t care as much. It didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary, honestly. Obviously, there is a heightened excitement, anxiousness because it’s playoff time. But as far as nerves and uncontrollable shaky feeling, not really.”