The Phoenix Suns have confirmed that Cam Payne, their backup point guard, would start Game 3 against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night at Footprint Centre in lieu of the injured Chris Paul.
When asked who will start in Paul’s stead before to the game, Suns head coach Monty Williams kept his cards close to his chest.
He informed reporters, “We’ll see,” prior to the public publication of the starting lineup cards.
As a result of Paul’s left groyne strain in Game 2’s 97-87 defeat at Ball Arena in Denver, Phoenix officially ruled him out on Thursday.
According to reports, the Suns are getting ready to play without their starting point guard until Game 5. He is now categorised as day-to-day and will be assessed again next week.
On Saturday, Paul will turn 38.
Since falling on his lower back on April 7 during the Suns’ 121-107 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, Payne has played just over 24 minutes for the team.
He returned from lower-back pain on April 25 in Phoenix’s 136-130 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 to seal the first-round series. He played for 3:16 minutes. Payne had two assists in the game but no goals.
The 28-year-old then contributed five points, one assist, three rebounds, and 5:09 of playing time in the Denver Nuggets’ 125-107 Game 1 defeat on April 29.
Following Paul’s absence in the third quarter of Game 2 on Monday, Payne’s playing time significantly increased, peaking at 16:42 and included two points, one dime, one rebound, and one steal.
The Suns’ backup point guard played an average of 20.2 minutes per game in 48 games during the regular season, averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds.