The Los Angeles Lakers needed someone to step up in a big way in order to get a win over the Miami Heat and while numerous players did, arguably none did so in a bigger way than Malik Monk.
The fifth-year guard is known to be a microwave-like scorer off the bench and he showed why so many had such high expectations for him upon joining the Lakers in his performance against Miami.
Monk hit 10-of-13 from the field and 4-of-7 from 3-point range to lead the Lakers with 27 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists as they fought back to claim a 120-117 overtime victory over the Heat.
With just nine healthy players and little in terms of playmaking guards, the Lakers were going to be extremely reliant on Monk, even more than usual. But he was ready.
“I work on my game a lot, man. So I was really prepared for this moment,” Monk said after the game.
It wasn’t too long ago that it looked as if Monk might find himself outside of the Lakers’ rotation, especially once the team got healthy. In fact, there was one four-game stretch in which Monk scored just three points total, but he continued to work and prepare for when his opportunity would come.
On this night, Monk shined and at one point it seemed to be an individual contest between himself and Heat guard Tyler Herro, who finished with 27 points himself. But that was not something on Monk’s mind, as he has the same mindset regardless of the opponent.
“I wasn’t matching, man. I was just playing basketball. He just happened to be on me. He’s a great player. He’s always knocking tough shots down and things like that, but I’m trying to kill everybody in front of me.”
The Lakers have a number of players who can score the basketball, but Monk has a truly special ability to create his own shot and can get scorching hot as quickly as anyone in the league. Even through a rough stretch, he didn’t get down on himself and simply kept working so he was ready when the time came.
That time was certainly there against the Heat and he was a major reason the Lakers left Staples Center with their second straight win.
Monk came into game with attacking mindset
The Lakers had already been without four rotation players, but were also without Rajon Rondo and Austin Reaves for their win over the Heat as well. With so many playmakers out, Monk felt he had to be in an attacking mindset.
“Just to attack. I had this happen a couple times last year in Charlotte and the year before that when a lot of guys get hurt and I had to come in and play big minutes. Facilitate and do other things I normally don’t do, but I work on my game a lot so I was really prepared for this moment.”
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