Phoenix Suns backup guard Cam Payne will not play for the second straight game of the team’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers due to lower back soreness, according to TNT’s Chris Haynes.
Payne suffered the injury in the Suns’ 122-111 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers March 22. Payne returned to practice last week but has not been able to suit up for the NBA playoffs.
Payne’s loss is bigger than some may expect. The Suns do not have another true point guard behind starter Chris Paul with Payne’s absence, which forced Suns guard Devin Booker to play point with Phoenix’s reserves in Game 1.
At one point, Phoenix had Booker with backup guard Landry Shamet, forwards Josh Okogie and Ish Wainwright and center Bismack Biyombo on the floor. That lineup has not played at least 15 minutes together this season, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Later, the Suns substituted Biyombo for center Jock Landale, but that lineup had also not been on the floor for at least 15 possessions.
Suns coach Monty Williams said in the last two days he used 10 players in the first half of the Suns’ 115-110 loss to the Clippers Sunday so the team could get extra “juice,” or energy. That was not the case, as the Suns’ lineup with Booker and the above reserves with Landale could not hold a 77-68 third-quarter lead the team had.
Phoenix and Los Angeles will tip off at 7 p.m. PT Tuesday for Game 2. The game will be televised by TNT