Former Racer has big comeback year playing for Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 22: Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball during the game against the LA Clippers during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 22, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was an amazing 2020-21 season for Murray State men’s basketball alumni Cameron Payne with the Phoenix Suns.

His biggest season in six
as a basketball professional brought him to the doorstep of becoming just the third MSU Racer to win an NBA champi- onship.

After a hot run through series wins against the Los An- geles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers, the Suns won the first two games against the Bucks and then faltered. The Milwaukee Bucks completely erased a 2-0 deficit in the last 10 days and won the best of seven series. The Bucks won Game 6 by a 105-98 score on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

After a period of time when he was out of the NBA and playing in China, Payne had a comeback season in which he

solidified his position in the league.

In 22 postseason games, Payne made an argument for playing more than his average of 19 minutes per game. He scored 9.3 points, grabbed 2.5 rebounds and dished out 3.2 assists per game. His perfor- mance in place of Chris Paul on June 22 was brilliant as he scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-24 from the field to go with nine assists in a win over the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals.

On the season, Payne ap- peared in 60 games with an average of 18 minutes played her game with a scoring aver- age of 8.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Payne joined Joe Fulks and Dick Cunningham as former Racer to play in the NBA Finals .

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