Phoenix Suns: 5 Keys To Success vs Los Angeles Clippers

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Key #4: Cameron Payne stepping up

With Paul missing Game 1 and potentially missing/being compromised for more games in the series afterwards too, Cameron Payne needs to step up against the Clippers, similarly to how he did in the Lakers series. Against LA, Payne averaged the third highest points per game for the Suns with 12.5, while making 42.6 percent of his threes.

Although nobody does so at Paul’s level, Payne also worked well as a distributor against the Lakers, racking up 3.3 assists per game. We know how instrumental this all was in Phoenix’s series victory against the defending champs, as he stepped up once both when Paul was not playing 100 percent, and even when he was, as a spark plug off the bench.

Again, doing so as well as Paul does seems like a bit too much to ask, but Payne also should look to make an impact from a game planing stand point as well. Dictating the game’s pace and keeping his teammates’ heads in the right place are two things Paul does exceptionally well. Payne should at least do his best to replicate that, with so little veterans on the team beside him.

Payne has enjoyed easily his finest season thus far as a pro here with the Suns. There’s no reason to expect him to slow down, which certainly bodes well for the team.