Monk’s ‘fun’ late-game heroics fuel Kings’ overtime win vs. Grizz

NBC Sports Bay Area

On a night when De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis combined for 48 points, Malik Monk shone the brightest for the Kings. 

Despite a slow start, the Kings guard delivered an emphatic late-game performance in Sacramento’s 121-111 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday at Golden 1 Center, netting 12 points in the final five minutes. 

Once again, in a late-game situation for the playoff-hungry Kings, Monk proved he’s invaluable within coach Mike Brown’s system.

“I think I’ve been saying it before, man,” Monk told NBC Sports California’s Morgan Ragan and Deuce Mason on “Kings Postgame Live.” “If you love the game of basketball, you want to be a competitor and you want to play the game at a high level, overtime, fourth quarter, times like this is where you want to step up and show you can play.

“I love moments like this.”

While the Kings culminated a six-game homestand with the overtime victory, Monk recorded his eighth 20-point, five-rebound and five-assist performance off the bench this season, adding more positive context to a memorable performance. 

So, when the opportunity came, the 26-year-old guard even took the time to thank the Kings’ brass for granting him the opportunity to don the purple and black.

“Sometimes I didn’t play as much, so you didn’t see it as much,” Monk said. “I’m just thankful [Brown] gave me the opportunity. 

“[Kings general manager Monte McNair] called me here. [Assistant GM Wes Wilcox] called me here. [Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé] called me here. I’m just thankful they gave me this opportunity.” 

Monk wasn’t the only King with a stellar game off the bench, with Keon Ellis proving, yet again, his worth on both sides of the ball, registering a career-high five blocks. 

The guard also logged a career-high 34 minutes on the floor following Kevin Huerter’s shoulder injury in the first quarter, which will naturally call for more activity from Monk and Ellis. 

Sacramento will need them, especially if it continues to get a red-hot Monk on the floor. 

“Having a guy like [Monk] close the way he did was a lot of fun to watch,” Brown said postgame. “We just put the ball in his hands and put them in pick and roll, and he was able to create a little bit of separation and get to his medium game. 

“He was really on point with it tonight.” 

If the Kings, who now can be considered an injury-laden team, want to come out of the final 15 games of the regular season in tip-top shape, they’ll need all the high-flying Monk they can get.

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