Cam Johnson to start for Suns’ Devin Booker in Game 3 at Pelicans

Apr 22, 2022, 6:36 PM | Updated: 6:39 pm

Phoenix Suns wing Cam Johnson will start Friday in place of the injured Devin Booker in Game 3 of the first-round series against the Pelicans in New Orleans.

Arizona Sports‘ John Gambadoro reported the expected move for head coach Monty Williams on Thursday.

Johnson joins Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton in the starting lineup.

The Pelicans will go with the same starting lineup as the first two games: C.J. McCollum, Herb Jones, Brandon Ingram, Jaxon Hayes and Jonas Valanciunas.

Booker suffered a Grade 1 right hamstring strain in the 125-114 loss in Game 2 on Tuesday and could reportedly miss two to three weeks due to the ailment. He was ruled out for Game 3 but made the trip to New Orleans.

Johnson has started in 36 of his 183 regular-season appearances for the Suns since being selected No. 11 overall out of North Carolina in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Sixteen of those starts came this season, including a six-game starting stint that spanned the New Year and a four-game stretch as a starter at the end of January. He also started another three straight games at the end of February.

In those 16 starts, Johnson averaged 16.3 points on 49.2% shooting from the field and 33.6% from three-point range.

He also made 50 three-pointers in those 16 games, meaning he averaged 3.1 made threes per contest as a starter this season.

In last year’s postseason, Johnson averaged 8.2 points on 50% shooting from the floor and 44.6% from beyond the arc in 21 games — all of which came off the bench.

Johnson had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting (1-for-2 from three) in Game 1’s 110-99 win, while Game 2 saw the Suns wing shoot 40% from the field on 4-of-10 attempts and go 1-for-6 (16.7%) from deep.

With the series tied at 1-1, Phoenix tips off against the Pelicans in New Orleans for Game 3 on Friday at 7 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. The game was originally scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. but the start was moved back because the Miami-Atlanta game leading ESPN’s coverage on Friday was delayed.

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