The Los Angeles Lakers have had some unlikely players steal the show in their first two wins of the young NBA season. Carmelo Anthony’s explosive performance on Sunday was matched by Malik Monk on Tuesday. The young guard played heavy minutes replacing an injured LeBron James in the starting lineup and came up with some big plays in an overtime thriller, none bigger than the clutch triple to put the Lakers up two near the end of regulation:
This shot was nuts pic.twitter.com/X4Tgvw2Qjl
— Ry (@JustRyCole) October 27, 2021
More impressive than the make was the confidence that Monk had in shooting from the outskirts of El Paso in such a high pressure setting while his superstar teammates were living in the paint all night.
That pressure wasn’t getting to the 23-year-old, though.
“I think every shot I shoot going in,” Monk said to reporters with a grin after the game. “Super confident. My teammates super confident in me, too and that makes me even more confident. They just believe in me. We got great players, man, and everybody stepped up tonight. I was just able to knock that one down.”
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 27, 2021
That confidence from Monk’s teammates was evident on the play, from Rajon Rondo pointing at the former Hornets guard just as he stepped into the frontcourt, to Anthony Davis passing up the ball after seeing that signal, to Rondo setting the pin down screen that freed Monk from any late contests. Monk told the media he has “unlimited range” and it was quite clear that his teammates trusted him to make the decision to fire off that shot.
Malik Monk is among several guards on the Lakers roster still fighting for his spot in the rotation as Frank Vogel figures out his lineups. Moments like this will certainly give him a head start as the team searched for reliable role players alongside their big three.