Malik Monk emerged as just one of the many Los Angeles Lakers’ heroes in Tuesday’s win over the Sacramento Kings.
Monk put up yet another spectacular performance this season, scoring 22 points and shooting 6-for-10 from behind the 3-point line against the Kings on Tuesday. With one of those triples, the 23-year-old guard beat the buzzer from the logo area to cut Sacramento’s halftime lead down to nine points.
“Russ makes it a little easy for me,” Monk said, asked how he’s been finding his rhythm on offense.
“He’s drawing a lot of tension now when he goes to the basket and Dwight draws a lot of attention too, AD does too. And I was just able to make the right reads. They gave me a lot of open shots and that’s what I do, I knock open shots down.”
With no LeBron James — who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier on Tuesday — the Lakers disappointed in the first half, falling 14 points behind the Kings. But Monk and Russell Westbrook initiated L.A.’s huge rally after the break and their teammates followed suit with the Lakers’ effort leading to a dominant 67-33 second half in their favor.
Head coach Frank Vogel also played a major role in the impressive push, offering his players some harsh words at halftime.
“Pick the energy up,” Monk said of the theme of Vogel’s speech. “We were too lazy, wasn’t getting back. We was acting like we didn’t care and he just told us to pick the energy up if we want to win and that’s what happened. It definitely sparked us.”
The circumstances around Tuesday’s win made Monk think that tides are turning for the Lakers this season.
“Yes, sir. We grow every game, every day we come in and practice and watch film, and every time we get on the practice court, we grow as a team,” the guard said.
“We just got to start communicating a little bit more on the basketball court because when we get off the court, we talk a lot. We do a lot of communication. So yes, sir, we’re getting closer and closer every game.”
Monk describes Lakers’ reaction to James’ positive test
L.A. impressed with perseverance on Tuesday, routing the Kings even though COVID-19 unexpectedly ruled James out of the game. Monk said the Lakers were aware that they needed a team effort to make up for the loss of their leader.
“Bron’s been hurting a little bit, so we knew that somebody else was gonna have to step up at this game,” he said.
“But yeah, it’s basketball, man. You never know [with] this COVID stuff. You never know what’s going to happen, but like I said, next man up.”
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