The Phoenix Suns tied their Western Conference semifinal series against the Denver Nuggets at two games apiece with their 129-124 win at Footprint Center in Game 4 Sunday night. 

Phoenix was counted out by many after it lost the first two games. However, the Suns stuck with superstars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, who scored 158 of their 250 points in Games 3 and 4.  

Outside of its top two players, Phoenix has not been a consistent team. The Suns’ bench struggled immensely through its first seven playoff games. Coach Monty Williams played guard Landry Shamet, who has played poorly, and used lineups the team had not played before. 

Starting point guard Chris Paul’s left groin injury forced Williams to play Terrence Ross and TJ Warren, who are known for scoring the ball. They each received bigger roles in Games 3 and 4. 

Phoenix also got physical play from Jock Landale, who stood out behind starter Deandre Ayton. 

Those players are the reason why the Suns had enough to even this series. Now, we rank them in terms of biggest impact. 

4. Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross is known as “The Human Torch,” a tribute to the “Fantastic 4” character. He can heat up quickly and figuratively has the “microwave” badge, if you’re an NBA 2K fan. 

Williams said after the Suns’ Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round that Ross could have played more. However, he did not get consistent minutes until Game 3 of this series. 

In Game 4, the Suns got two 3-pointers out of Ross, including one that gave them a 92-90 lead in the third quarter. 

Ross has scoring ability the Suns need. They got 40 points from the bench in Game 4. Ross had eight of them and will need to play well moving forward. 

3. TJ Warren

TJ Warren was included in the Suns’ trade for Durant in February. He is perceived to be a capable scorer but did not get much of an opportunity until late. 

He hit two big shots in Game 3: a corner 3-pointer and then a floater that helped the Suns close the game. Warren played 19 minutes in Game 4 and even defended Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. 

Williams praised Warren’s physicality. It is unknown if he will receive more time in Game 5, but he proved he can provide quality play.

2. Jock Landale

Jock Landale has rotated with Bismack Biyombo as the Suns’ backup center. Landale has stood out more this series since he can do more offensively than Biyombo.

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He earned Williams’ trust in Game 3, playing the final five minutes over starter Deandre Ayton and tallying nine rebounds in 22 minutes.

The Suns’ backup big had five rebounds and played 21 minutes in Game 4. 

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has praised Landale’s play this round. 

“I think he’s come in this series and impacted it in a positive way,” Malone said. “Activity, offensive rebounding, physicality, aggression. 

“You have to give him credit for how just hard he’s playing, which is what you want from guys that are sometimes deemed as role players.”

Landale’s minutes have been important since Ayton has struggled with his motor and physicality this series. Ayton had three offensive rebounds that set the tone for the Suns in Game 4, but he has been largely inconsistent. 

If Ayton can’t step up, Landale will.

1. Landry Shamet 

Landry Shamet has received heavy criticism. He is expected to be a “3-and-D” threat for Phoenix, but he had been unable to provide either of those skills before Game 4. 

However, Williams stuck with him and had a breakout performance Sunday.

He led the Suns’ bench with 19 points, including four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. It allowed Phoenix to build a double-digit lead in the quarter that helped it close the game. 

Shamet does not appear to be the Suns’ best bench option. He is thinner than Warren and Ross, which limits his defensive ability. 

He showed, however, he is focused. Shamet spoke with The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin after the game.

His defense on Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was aggressive. The Suns will need it to steal a game on the road in Game 5. 

The Nuggets and Suns will tip off that contest at 7 p.m. PT Tuesday in Denver.