PHOENIX SUNS

Cam Payne lights up court for Phoenix Suns in Chris Paul’s absence

May 25, 2021, 11:10 PM | Updated: May 26, 2021, 11:49 am
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 25: Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot again...
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 25: Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Phoenix Suns Arena on May 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It was Cam Payne’s game Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 26-year-old stepped up in a huge way to ease the load of veteran Chris Paul, whose minutes were limited due to the shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1.

Paul played a total of 23 minutes and spent most of the second half on the sideline.

“It’s always tough to see anybody from our team down and can’t really help us out,” Payne said of Paul postgame.

“It was tough but you know we got next man mentality, so everybody’s got to be ready.”

Payne took that next man up mentality to heart. He finished the night with 19 points, seven assists and three rebounds in 33 minutes played — more time than all but two of the Suns’ starters.

The guard’s biggest shot of the night came with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Payne drilled a 3 that tied up the game at 86-86 and gave the Suns momentum to briefly take the lead on a Deandre Ayton dunk.

He later fouled out in the last few seconds of the game.

Payne called his performance “just playing free,” but also credited his shift in mentality this season to keep his head down and focus on what he’s doing on the court.

“I work hard. I work to keep my job. I’ve got to earn it all,” he said. “I go in humble, but confident. I just have to keep working hard and the work shows. Go in and get my reps.”

Head coach Monty Williams was impressed, but not shocked that the young player stepped up to the challenge.

“That’s what he does. He got to the basket and made plays,” Williams said. “He certainly can step outside and he’s not afraid to take big shots, especially 3s … He’s certainly a weapon and an asset for us off of the bench and with Chris being down tonight, we needed him to step up and he did.”

With the series now tied 1-1, the Suns will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers in Game 3 at the Staples Center on Thursday.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Phoenix Suns

Credit: @cedceballos / Twitter...
Nicholas Hodell

Former Suns F Cedric Ceballos says he is COVID-19 free, but still in ICU

Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos tweeted on Sunday that he is COVID-19 free, but also that he is still recovering in an intensive care unit.
4 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Associated Press

Tech data shows Arizona’s busy sports gambling activity

"Arizona ... had more wagered online than mature states like Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee at the FanDuel Sportsbook,” a spokesman said.
5 days ago
Images of the FanDuel sportsbook inside Footprint Center. (Photo by luiscolato.com)...
Associated Press

What to know as legal sports gambling begins in Arizona

Which in-person betting services are open Thursday? What other sportsbooks are still coming? And how did Arizona get here?
9 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Arizona Sports

Suns release images of FanDuel sportsbook at Footprint Center as betting opens in Arizona

See pictures inside the Phoenix Suns FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center. Legalized betting opens in Arizona on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
9 days ago
...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Devin Booker featured on Kicks Magazine cover

Devin Booker studies the details. And in reading the featured story for SLAM's latest edition of KICKS Magazine, fans can get a sense of that.
10 days ago
United States' Javale McGee takes a rest during a men's basketball practice at the Tokyo 2020 Olymp...
Kellan Olson

JaVale McGee visualized himself on Suns while watching NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee was at a Finals game in Phoenix and was able to see where he could potentially play a role.
10 days ago
Cam Payne lights up court for Phoenix Suns in Chris Paul’s absence