Scoring in bunches is rarely a problem for Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook. After a nine-point effort (on 4-for-22 shooting) in Sunday’s 105-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook knows his offensive game has been off of late.
Last night’s game marked the fourth time this month that Westbrook has shot less than 25 percent of the field. The Thunder guard flirted with a triple-double as he also notched nine rebounds, eight assists and six steals. But overall, December has been somewhat rough for him. Yes, he’s averaging a triple-double this month (18.1 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 10.4 apg), but he’s also shooting poorly (37.2 percent overall and 26.4 percent on 3-pointers with a 40.8 effective field goal percentage) while doing so.
Westbrook wasn’t about to point the finger at others for his struggles, though, after last night’s loss.
“I’ve just got to do a better job, man,” Westbrook said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “It’s really on me. … I’ve just got to get focused in and locked back in on what I need to do. I’ve got to help my guys out. I’ve been letting them down, man, just not being consistent on the offensive end.
“Defensively, I’m fine, but just being more consistent, because I pride myself on being the most consistent player in the league. I come out every night and compete, play hard and all that stuff. Missing and making shots is a part of the game, but I’ve got to do a better job, and that’s on me. I’m going to definitely do that, so I’m not really worried. We play tomorrow, and I’ll be better from then on. It’s on me.”
The Thunder still had a chance to win last night with 1.7 seconds left, but Westbrook missed a corner three-pointer at the buzzer.
Oklahoma City is 8-6 this month and hosts the Mavericks today as both it and Westbrook aim to end 2018 on a much stronger note. The Thunder went 12-3 in November and ranked 11th in offensive rating and first in defensive rating that month. Those numbers that have dipped to 20th and fourth, respectively, so far in December.
MacMahon notes that Westbrook’s shooting percentage this month is the third-lowest percentage for a month in his career and Westbrook’s worst shooting percentage since December of 2009 (when he shot 35.7 percent).
Westbrook knows he’s struggling … but isn’t about to let it consume him, either.
“I’ve been in worse positions, man. It’s not the worst thing. We’re third in the West. We’re winning games. It’s not about me,” Westbrook said. “My job is to make sure we win games. I bring so much more to the game of basketball than offense. I defend at a high level, rebound, pass, whatever. I’ll do whatever for us to win games.
“So for me, I’m a basketball player. I’m very, very hard on myself because I’m able to do everything on the floor. And I don’t really think there’s many other guys in the league that play the game the way I do every night, so I pride myself on doing everything at a high level every night. If it’s scoring one night, then it’s assists and rebounding, whatever it is, defending — I pride myself on doing everything at a high level every single night. I’m going to be tougher on myself than anybody, so I’m not worried one bit.”