One of the other noticeable numbers beyond the Phoenix second unit point total is that it went six players deep for about 71.5 minutes compared to the Denver second unit's 56.5 minutes.
“Came in a little faster. Kind of try to speed the pace up, and that’s probably just it because they (Nuggets) like to switch (on defense)," Payne said in the postgame.
"Our unit’s been dealing with that all year, so it’s kind of cool that we get to get back out there and kind of get back to the things that we’ve been doing all season.”
Suns coach Monty Williams went to his bench more in Game 2's second quarter as he played five backups with various lineups such as Payne, Torrey Craig, and Damion Lee with starters Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. Also, Suns backup bigs Jock Landale and Bismack Biyombo played more in the first half than in Game 1 as Deandre Ayton picked up two fouls in the second period.
They ended up with a 42-40 halftime lead.
“I thought it was decent, especially in the second quarter. We held serve with that group," Williams said. "That was the group that we kind of lost it with in Game 1. So I thought Cam came in, he and Jock (Landale), they put a lot of pressure on the rim, especially Jock.
'That group was pretty good. Neither team scored much in the first half. We didn’t score much in the second half either, but I thought that group was decent.”
In Game 1, Williams put in eight of his reserves for about 89 minutes, which included three who came in together at the 5:09 mark in the fourth quarter when he removed his starters for good as Denver led by 21 points.
Those the first five (Landry Shamet, Biyombo, Lee, Landale and Craig) combined for 16 points before Williams conceded the loss, compared to Denver's 20, which excludes Peyton Watson's 3 in the closing minutes when he came in among the last of the Nuggets bench.
The Phoenix bench scores 14.3 points per game, ranked last among the 16 teams in this postseason.
Williams was asked before Game 1 if there needs to be an improvement in the bench scoring. But he replied that the team is designed for the starters to score the most, and that rebounding and defensive stops are valued just as much as scoring production.
Coaches typically shrink the amount of playing time for bench players in the playoffs.
But Williams said he needs a solid accelerant from the second unit such as one of Phoenix's best outside shooters in Damion Lee, who has been struggling (1.8 points per game, 20% FG, 12.2 minutes per game), to help Phoenix gain momentum in Game 3 and the rest of this series.
“We hope so. We need D-Lee to make a few shots, but his spacing is important to us," Williams said. "We’ve gotta look at that group and see if there’s somebody else that can help us.”
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Denver Nuggets bench outscores Phoenix Suns' unit in Game 2 win