One of the biggest factors in the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent hot streak has been the play of Malik Monk. Since returning from his stint on the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Monk has been unconscious and seems highly unlikely to let go of his spot in the starting lineup.
Monk’s latest performance was his best of the year as he poured in a season-high 29 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the Lakers’ 134-118 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Monk was absolutely scorching from deep, hitting 7-of-12 from 3-point range and also capped his night off with a monstrous slam that brought the crowd to their feet.
Earlier in the season, Monk had shown flashes of what he can bring to this Lakers team, but this latest stretch has been beyond what anyone could have imagined and the young guard had a simple explanation for his level of play as of late.
“Just letting the game come to me and not trying to force shots and just play the right way then the ball will come to me,” Monk said. “It’ll find me. But I just space the floor well for Russ and Bron in the starting group and then everybody else starts packing the lane after they start getting in the lane and stuff and they start finding me and I get my shots.”
His level of play has also coincided with the Lakers having their best run of the season and finally looking like a team that could make some noise in the postseason. Monk spoke to this, noting that the team getting healthier and trusting each other is a big part of this run.
“We’re trusting each other and we’re just making the right play instead of trying to force it and make it ourselves. Not just one guy, everybody. We’re just making the right play and trusting our teammates.”
The Lakers still have a couple of major pieces missing chief among them being Anthony Davis. The big man coming back in a big way could take the Lakers to another level if he is able to play to his best ability. Guard Kendrick Nunn is also getting close to making his season debut and his addition gives the Lakers another backcourt option who brings a lot on both sides of the ball.
For the first time in a long time, it seems as if there is finally some optimism surrounding the Lakers and Monk is providing a lot of excitement. The Lakers got him on a minimum contract, but if he keeps playing like this, he’ll be in for a nice payday come the offseason.
Monk believes dunks created momentum for Lakers
The Lakers’ win over the Hawks was arguably their most fun game of the season as in addition to knocking down threes, L.A. had a number of highlight dunks.
Monk, LeBron James and Talen Horton-Tucker all got in on the action, and the crowd was loving every second of it.
“Super momentum,” Monk said of what it brought the Lakers. “Everybody loves dunks, especially when Bron dunking. Get the crowd into it and everything.”
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