After seeing Anthony Davis return to action against the Brooklyn Nets, it felt like the Los Angeles Lakers were finally over the injury bug.
However, they were dealt a blow when LeBron James was ruled out for their following three contests, all resulting in losses. The Lakers fell to 24-27 in the process and are now the nine seed in the Western Conference, a precarious position to be in given their lofty offseason expectations.
One player who has been asked to step up in James’ absence is Malik Monk, who scored a season-high 33 points in the loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon.
Monk caught fire from the field as the Hawks had no answer for him, but on the team’s final possession, he fired up a contested three that missed, essentially closing out the game for Altanta. After the contest, Monk admitted he should have given the ball to Davis in order to get himself or the star big man a better look.
“I got to get him the ball to get me an easier shot because I was rolling a little bit and they’re either not gonna help off me or they’re gonna help off me and he’s gonna make the right decision anyway. So I got to get him the ball on that one,” Monk said.
Davis agreed that the ball should have gone to him, but just so he could get Monk an easier look.
“The play with Malik, I was yelling him and I know he had it going, but I was just trying to get him an easier shot,” Davis said. “And I told him, once you’re in the zone like that and you’re killing a team, they’re gonna start sending doubles and trying to pressure you to make you shoot tough shots. So I was literally just gonna catch the ball and wanted him to fly open for a pitch-back and stop behind three, that’s what I wanted to get him. And he understood, we talked about it.”
That wasn’t the only reason the Lakers lost the game though as Monk discussed what went wrong in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 38-20.
“They just gave us a little bit more pressure and sped us up and we played into their hand. That’s how they got the win, it got over us in the fourth and we just played into what they wanted us to do.”
James is the engine that makes the Lakers go on offense and without him, Davis and Monk have had to shoulder more of the scoring burden. In that regard, scoring was not the issue against Atlanta as they hung up 121 points, but giving up 129 on the road is a sure-fire way to lose a game.
Regardless though, the Lakers finished their road trip 2-4 and are now searching for answers as they head back home.
Malik Monk’s groin is fine after missing game against Hornets
Aside from Davis, Monk also missed the game against the Hornets with a groin injury. It was a new ailment for the young guard but said that he is feeling fine after the time off.
“It’s good, it’s fine. I was just a little sore,” Monk said.
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