Every memorable comeback needs the one special moment that spurs the team to a victory. As the Lakers inched closer and closer to the Spurs in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, the table was set for that very moment in the final minute.
And Malik Monk delivered.
One of the many new faces on the Lakers this season, Monk had his signature moment so far in purple and gold on Tuesday night. With the Lakers trailing by just a point and under a minute to play, Monk took a pass from Anthony Davis, pulled up from 30 feet and buried a 3-pointer to put the Lakers ahead.
LA LIK— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 27, 2021
After the game, a confident Monk offered a tongue-in-cheek response when asked about that shot.
“I’ve got unlimited range.”
While the shot itself — which head coach Frank Vogel noted came from “4-point range” after the contest — didn’t win the Lakers the game, it abled them to force overtime where Russell Westbrook and the Lakers capped off a memorable victory in San Antonio, 125-121.
Monk never had any doubt.
“I think every shot I shoot is going in, so super confident,” Monk said when asked how confident he is in his shot. “My teammates are confident in me, too, so that makes me even more confident. They just believe in me. We’ve got great players, man. Everybody stepped up tonight and I was just able to knock that one down.”
For Monk, that basket punctuated a huge performance on a night the Lakers needed it. Already battling injuries to their backcourt this season, LeBron James’ absence from the lineup opened up the opportunity for Monk to step into the starting lineup.
Monk took advantage, continuing his strong play since camp started, going 6-of-15 from the field and 4-of-10 from the 3-point line for a season-high 17 points. However, easily the most impressive stat of his on the night was his plus-minus of +31 in 39 minutes of action, meaning the Lakers were -27 in the 14 minutes he sat on Tuesday.
“I mean, s---, Malik at +31, ridiculous,” Anthony Davis said after the win. “He started and played well. Big time threes. Played great defensively.”
For a Lakers side desperate for spacing offensively, Monk’s consistent scoring has been a constant key in unlocking things on that end of the court. While single-game offensive ratings are often noisy, that Monk had the highest figure at 112.8 — and second highest on the team in total — also tells a story of his value to the Lakers.
It isn’t always Monk’s 3-point shooting that makes him valuable. Against the Spurs, he had a pair of makes in the paint as well. But at the end of the day, it will be his shooting that makes him most valuable to the Lakers offense, particularly when James returns.
And if he continues to showcase his unlimited range, more special moments like Tuesday could be on the docket.