Malik Monk on how his confidence played a role in OT win
Nov 9, 2023, 10:16 AM | Updated: 10:36 am
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Malik Monk raised his hands to the sky in a way of saying “finally” after converting a free throw attempt shortly before the halftime break of Wednesday’s matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers.
Monk, a player who finished 12th in the NBA last year in free-throw percentage (89%), sunk an attempt from the line that ended a streak of four-straight misses.
The struggles from the line were out of character for Sacramento’s Sixth Man, but a three-for-seven start from the charity stripe was a precursor to a monster finish during another overtime thriller at Golden 1 Center.
Monk’s confidence wasn’t affected by the rough start as the guard continued to attack Portland’s defense down the stretch, both as a scorer and distributor. Getting to the line was crucial for Monk in bringing the Kings back from the brink of a fourth-straight loss, and the 25-year-old made history during his busy second half.
The four knocked down all 12 of his second-half attempts from the line, including seven during the final 2:30 of regulation to force overtime.
In the Sacramento-era (1985-present), only one other player has attempted and made 12+ free throws during the second half of a game: Hall of Fame guard Mitch Richmond, who did so on January 22, 1997.
Last year’s Clutch Player of the Year winner in Fox was unavailable on Wednesday, meaning that somebody had to step up and deliver a much-needed win for the ‘Beam Team.’
Monk was up for that challenge.
With the game on the line during the closing seconds of overtime, Domantas Sabonis back-tapped a rebound out to Monk on the perimeter, who was able to corral the ball and draw a foul before going to the line for two game-icing free-throws in what was a cherry-on-top finish to an eventful night in Sacramento.
Monk finished the night with his first double-double in a Kings uniform and his first-ever of the points-assists vareity, scoring 23 points to go along with six rebounds and a career-high ten assists over 29 minutes.
“I finally got ten assists for the first time in my career,” Monk said with a smile following the game. “I just try to do stuff different if I’m not making shots. I knew they were going to drop at some point, so I just kept attacking.”
Monk often hooked up with Sabonis in the two-man game, with the All-Star center receiving four of Monk’s ten assists.
Sabonis had high praise for Monk following the game, especially when highlighting the guard’s calm demeanor and clutch presence at the foul stripe.
We saw a strong connection between Malik Monk and Domantas Sabonis tonight.
4 of Monk’s 10 assists came off Sabonis baskets vs. Portland.pic.twitter.com/eRv6A1sj9d
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) November 9, 2023
“19 free-throws, that’s really big. Those are super star numbers,” Sabonis said of Monk’s performance. “We trust him with everything on the line.”
While there has been a large contingent of Kings fans that would like to see Monk slide into the starting lineup while Fox is on the mend, Brown continues to roll the guard out in the second unit, but number 0 has been on the floor in crunch time when Sacramento needs him most.
Confidence is key with Monk, and it’s becoming clearer with each passing game that his confidence will not waver. Four missed free throws? Nope. A rough night from the field? Malik Monk is going to continue to go right at opposing defenses.
“I don’t care about the misses. I’ve got crazy confidence, so I knew I was going to keep going to the lane um and and getting fouled,” Monk said. “I knew they was going to drop at some point.”
When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?
Are you ready for some NBA In-Season Tournament action?
Sacramento will play its first Group Play game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden 1 Center on Thursday while debuting their new court and City Edition uniforms.
Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Thunder coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
- Friday, November 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder** – 7 PM PST
- Monday, November 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – 7:00 PM PST
- Wednesday, November 15th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST
- Friday, November 17th – Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs – 4:30 PM PST
- Sunday, November 19th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 4:30 PM PST
** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play