|Malik Monk gets his game together on both ends of the floor|
|Hornets guard's defense, offense lifts squad|
|Published Monday, January 28, 2019 11:02 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Malik Monk's defense has become an asset with the Charlotte Hornets, along with his offensive productivity.|
Going with Malik Monk late paid off for the Charlotte Hornets.
Monk’s performance in Monday’s 101-92 win against the New York Knicks reflects his growth over the last three weeks. He played limited minutes through the first three quarters against the Knicks, with Charlotte entering the fourth deadlocked at 71-all. Monk scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting and 0-2 through the first 36 minutes. He finished with 14 points, shooting 5-of-12 from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point territory, scoring 12 of Charlotte’s 30 points in the fourth. Six Hornets scored 10 or more points, with guards Tony Parker and Jeremy Lamb leading the team with 15 each.
“You’re going to miss shots,” Monk said. “There are going to be days when you miss shots, but it’s in your mind to keep going. When you keep shooting the same way, the ball is going to fall in. I just kept my same routine, kept shooting the same, and I was able to knock them down today.”
Charlotte coach James Borrego noted the importance of Monk’s defensive contributions versus his offense. Borrego emphasized the only way for Monk to earn consistent minutes will come from defending, increasing tempo, and sinking shots when they present themselves. Borrego attributes Monk’s improvement to the Hornets’ six-game West Coast road trip, describing it as a turning point for the second-season guard.
“This league is full of screens,” Borrego said. “You cannot relax. You’re going to get hit with a pindown, pick and roll—it’s not like I get to stand on the weak side and twiddle my thumbs. I’ve gotta be engaged. I’ve gotta get through screens. [Monk’s] competing more, getting through screens, No. 1. When he gets through screens, he is defending his guys much better. Tonight he was locked in. I don’t think he got beat one time. I’m going to go back and watch the film. Maybe there was one, and I’m sure I’ll show it to him. One-on-one, he is doing a much better job understanding personnel, who he is guarding, and staying in front of the ball.”
Said guard Tony Parker, who scored 15 points against the Knicks: “[Monk] is playing smarter and smarter. Yes you have the threes, but the thing I like from his game, and the growth that we are seeing is the passing, the way he can penetrate.”
Charlotte is eight games from the All-Star break, sitting in eighth in the Eastern Conference at 24-25. The Knicks are 14th in the East at 10-39.
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