Malik Monk proved he remains one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ most dangerous weapons on the offensive end, putting on another fine display against the L.A Clippers on Friday.
Monk didn’t get on the board until the second half of the 119-115 loss. But once he found his rhythm, the Clippers had a hard time trying to stop him.
The 23-year-old guard dropped 20 points over the third and fourth quarters, shooting well from the 3-point land (4-for-8) and making a few difficult shots off the dribble. Monk said he looked for ways to get “easy baskets” against the Clippers, leading to yet another respectable stats line this season.
“Cuts in the middle. Back cuts, screens, screens on Bron, slip-outs. Things like that just to get easy buckets,” he said.
“You never know how it’s going to go. I might have a night like tonight, or I might have six points. You never know how it’s going to go. I just have to try and find easy buckets.”
Recently, Monk said he has been focusing on improving his defense to clock in more minutes for the Lakers this season. The guard thought he showed growth in that area on Friday, putting in an extra effort to stay in front of the Clippers’ players at all times.
However, Monk and his Lakers teammates failed to contain Luke Kennard late in the game. The guard said the Purple and Gold failed to respond to the Clippers’ tactical adjustment in the fourth quarter, allowing Kennard to end the night 5-for-8 from downtown and seal the victory for the Clippers.
“Just to be solid. Try not to get straight-line drived. I think I did a good job with that tonight,” Monk said.
“Coach [Tyronn] Lue did make a great adjustment with bringing Luke [Kennard] up and back to the strong side because we didn’t have any help over there. That was a great coaching point right there, but just to be solid and don’t get straight line drived.”
Monk added the Lakers are still trying to figure out their strongest lineups, which he said has been a challenge considering how often injuries force their players out of the rotation.
“That’s a good question. I really don’t know, man,” he said.
“I don’t know how many new guys it is. Bron, AD, and THT [Talen-Horton Tucker] are the only ones who are back. It’s kind of hard to just come out here and click right away when we haven’t been together. We talk about it every day, we watch film every day. We’re still trying to figure it out.”
Frank Vogel has confidence in Lakers’ rotations
Head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged his team tripped up on both ends of the floor in crucial moments of the loss to the Clippers. However, Vogel felt the Lakers put in some good overall effort on the defensive end even though they failed to stop Kennard in the fourth quarter.
“We trust our rotations,” he said. “We feel really good about our ability to get the ball out of somebody like Paul [George]’s hands and scramble around the perimeter and get to their shooters. We were just a step late. We had one breakdown where we left Luke [Kennard] open in the corner and a couple others where AD got a great contest on guys.
“They made tough shots, but we trust our rotations in those situations.”
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