Good morning, folks. Malik Monk wasn’t a huge fan of being benched in the Hornets previous game, so he decided to drop 26 points. Let’s talk NBA.
Hornets – 123 @ Hawks – 124
- Monk was a DNP-CD (coach’s decision) in the Hornets loss on Friday to the Oklahoma City Thunder and has probably heard whispers of the Bradley-Beal-to-Charlotte rumors. So instead of soaking in a tub of his own self-pity, Monk proceeded to have his best game of the season. He tied his career-high of 26 points against the Hawks on Sunday night, shooting 9-15 from the field (7-11 from three). Monk was in this bag, as they (me) say. And it wasn’t like he was doing anything too different than when he was struggling with his shot earlier in the season. He was a bit more aggressive, but the shots were finally falling. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve posted a Monk box score where he shoots 4-12 or 7-18. Hopefully the benching along with the trade rumors perked him up a bit. One game in and he looked like the Malik Monk that Charlotte wanted to build their offense around earlier in the offseason.
- When Monk gets hot, it feels like every shot is going in.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out his sixth straight game with a nagging ankle injury. He continues to be listed as day-to-day but the injury is clearly a bit worse than initially hoped.
- Now let’s talk about the Hornets for a second because I haven’t even mentioned that they lost this game to the Atlanta Hawks – one of the two worst teams in the league. This loss drops them below .500 to 9-10 despite Kemba Walker playing like an MVP candidate and averaging 28.2 points per game. What’s weird about the Hornets is not how they’re losing, but who they’re losing to. Since MKG’s injury (Charlotte is 2-4 in this span and his absence likely has to do with some of the team’s poor play as they currently lack a lockdown perimeter defender), the Hornet’s have beaten teams such as the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers – although the Celtics are struggling in their own right. Sorry, Jack. They’ve also lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers by 24 and now the Hawks in a close game. They’ve also ALSO come down to the wire against the Philadelphia 76ers (Walker’s 60-point game) and Oklahoma City Thunder.
- The main reason is that Walker is the entire offense, especially if players like Monk and Jeremy Lamb aren’t hitting shots. The Hornets have to rely on their bench scoring to keep them in games (which they do quite well! The Hornets are fourth in the NBA in bench scoring) and that’s part of the problem. All of their scoring comes from Walker or the bench. Nic Batum and Marvin Williams – both veteran starters – are shells of their former selves. Cody Zeller – the starting center – still doesn’t know if he’s good or bad at basketball yet but is starting to lean in the wrong direction. Moving MKG to the bench helped open up their scoring and spread the floor so the Hornets could have four shooters on the floor at the same time, but it doesn’t matter if only one of those shooters is hitting shots. They need MKG back to full health and possibly a change in the starting lineup (although I like them keeping MKG as a sixth-man). Miles Bridges deserves more minutes and Dwayne Bacon likely does, too. There’s a reason the Bradley Beal talk is out in the open. There is no denying the Hornets need another star and they need one now.
- Okay, that’s enough talk about the Charlotte Hornets for the next two decades. On to something relevant.
- Alex Poythress – who is also dealing with an ankle injury – missed his fourth straight game for the Hawks.
Jazz – 133 @ Kings – 112
- On the second night of a back-to-back on the road, the Sacramento Kings couldn’t play their style of game.
- The Kings scored a season-low 13 fastbreak points against the Utah Jazz, who were on a surprising three-game losing streak. De’Aaron Fox scored 13 points on 5-11 shooting while Willie Cauley-Stein struggled for the second consecutive game, adding a mere six points and four rebounds in 23 minutes. When the Kings can’t play their game, which is basically an all-time fastbreak, they aren’t nearly as effective. Their youth and weakness were exposed in this game and they now drop to 10-10.
- There are three players in particular that huge games Sunday night and we’ll lead off with Devin Booker.
- Booker went off – again – for 37 points on 14-24 shooting to lead the BBNBA in scoring. He’s now scored 37 points in two of his previous four games and is averaging 31.5 points per game during that span. He’s also averaging 7.1 assists per game as the Suns’ defacto point guard this year. Before this season, “Point-Book” had never played more than five percent of his minutes as the lead guard. This season, he’s up to 20 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.
- Player number two is Enes Kanter, who was a rebounding fiend against the Memphis Grizzlies and their cement-footed center Marc Gasol. Kanter pulled down a career-high TWENTY-SIX rebounds in addition to his 21 points on 9-16 shooting. It was the first 20-point, 25-rebound in the NBA this season. Even more surprising? The Knicks beat the now 12-7 Memphis Grizzlies.
- And finally, player number three is Bam Adebayo, who took a page out of the Kanter Book of Rebounding (just let me know whenever you need the rights to that title, Enes) and grabbed 21 boards of his own – also a career high. Adebayo added 16 points, as well, to give him a double-double in back-to-back games. His 36 minutes were the second-most of his career. That’s now two straight excellent performances from Adebayo.
- Check out the rest of the stats below.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||107-118 L @ DET||37||14-24 (3-9)||4||5||0||0||4||-4||37|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||123-124 L @ ATL||26||9-15 (7-11)||2||0||1||0||2||+4||23|
|Enes Kanter (NYK)||103-98 W @ MEM||21||9-16 (0-1)||26||3||0||0||2||+9||40|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||115-125 L @ TOR||16||4-10 (0-1)||21||1||1||2||1||+1||36|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||112-133 L vs. UTA||13||5-11 (1-2)||2||3||3||1||3||-8||25|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||104-100 W @ POR||12||4-9 (0-1)||4||2||1||1||2||+13||29|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||112-133 L vs. UTA||6||2-6 (0-0)||4||2||0||1||1||-2||23|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||112-133 L vs. UTA||2||1-1 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||0||5|
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||103-98 W @ MEM||0||0-3 (0-2)||2||0||0||1||0||-4||7|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||108-104 W @ LAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||123-124 L @ ATL||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||124-123 W vs. CHA||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||104-108 L vs. ORL||DNP-Hand||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist-questionable, Monk)
7:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Cavaliers (An. Harrison)
7:00 (NBATV): Rockets (Knight-out) @ Wizards (Wall)
8:00: Spurs @ Bulls
8:00: Celtics @ Pelicans (Davis-questionable, Miller, Randle)
9:00: Pacers @ Jazz
10:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Warriors (Cousin-out)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan