After a lethargic start that saw them go down by as many as 21 points, the Los Angeles Lakers mounted a second-half come back to defeat the New York Knicks in overtime, 122-115, on Saturday night.
LeBron James returned to the lineup after missing the past five games and turned in a triple-double, while Anthony Davis continued his streak of massive double-doubles to help power the Lakers to the much-needed win. While the star duo came through as expected, they received a massive boost from Malik Monk, who caught fire in the third quarter to give the Lakers their first lead of the night.
Monk wound up scoring 29 points and afterward said he loves the role he plays for the team and is grateful Rob Pelinka called him in free agency.
“It’s perfect,” Monk said of his role. “This is what I wanted to do my whole career. This is what I’m trying to find. I’m happy that Rob [Pelinka] called me this summer man and gave me the opportunity. I’m going to continue to do that.”
Monk had a quiet first half, not looking to score the ball and instead deferring to James and Davis. However, he noted he was playing too passively and decided to look to score more coming out of the locker room.
“Just to be aggressive. I think I was a little passive in the first half second-guessing myself. My teammates told me to be you, be yourself and that’s what I did.”
Monk had 18 points in the third quarter as he put on a dazzling display of shooting and scoring to give Los Angeles the offensive punch it needed outside of its stars. Time and time again, Monk found himself open for jumpers and the Knicks had no answer for him once he found his rhythm shooting the basketball.
The 24-year-old has been on a tear in the past couple of weeks since being inserted into the starting lineup and it spoke volumes when head coach Frank Vogel decided to keep him as a starter even with James returning. With how well he is playing, Monk deserves all the minutes he can get and it will be exciting to see how well he fares on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Frank Vogel expects Malik Monk to continue starting games
After a 29-point performance, it would seem like Monk’s place in the starting lineup is secure but Vogel has previously acknowledged that he is going to evaluate things as he looks to build around the Big 3 of James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook. For now, Vogel expects Monk to continue starting games, but for how long remains to be seen.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!