Payton provided seven points (3-10 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 0-1 FT), 12 assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 29 minutes during Wednesday's 147-140 loss to the Warriors.
Payton distributed a season high assist total, reaching double figures in dimes for the first time since the season opener. Payton has exceeded 29 minutes just once over the last eight games after sitting out for an extended stretch with a broken finger. With that being said, he has been among the most consistent contributors on the squad, and will likely be relied on heavily here in the second half of the season as the team tries desperately to become relevant in the race for the playoffs.
Payton's line was a serviceable one from a fantasy standpoint, although the point guard unsurprisingly took a back seat to the likes of Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday in terms of usage. The 24-year-old has scored in double digits in five of his first seven games since returning from a finger injury on Dec. 31, but he's exceeded 30 minutes just once during that stretch. Given how involved his aforementioned trio of first-unit mates typically are, Payton will likely be hard-pressed to offer scoring beyond the teens on most nights. However, as he demonstrated in a 25-point outburst versus the Nets in only his second game back, he's capable of the occasional spike in production when he gets the opportunity.
Payton scored 25 points (10-15 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-4 FT) to go with seven assists and two rebounds in Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn.
In his second game back from a long injury layoff, Payton showed no signs of rust and didn't face a minutes restriction, which is an encouraging sign after he was limited to 24 minutes in his return Monday against Minnesota.
Payton provided nine points (3-9 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six assists, one rebound, and one steal in 24 minutes during Monday's 123-114 win over the Timberwolves.
Payton returned to action following a 22-game absence with a broken finger and immediately reclaimed his starting gig. While Payton struggled with turnovers (four) and his shot, some rust should be expected as he gets back into the flow of things. Payton was averaging 32.0 minutes through the first four games of 2018-19 (all Pelicans wins) before suffering the injury in the fifth contest of the season, and it's safe to say the team will lean heavily on him going forward as they try to make up ground in the playoff race.
Payton (finger) will play Monday against the Timberwolves, Andrew Lopez of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Payton, who has been sidelined since mid-November with a broken finger, is set to make his return to action after getting through pregame warmups with no issues Monday. He'll immediately reclaim his role as the starting point guard, though he may be gradually brought back up to a full workload. When healthy (six games), Payton is averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.
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