Frank Vogel: Lakers Will Help Russell Westbrook Get Through Shooting Slump
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook’s shooting woes continued in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 125-116 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Westbrook contributed in many different ways for L.A. that night, recording 12 rebounds, six assists, and only one turnover. But the 33-year-old guard scored just eight points, shooting 2-for-14 (14.3%) from the field.

The 2017 NBA MVP has been struggling to make shots since the turn of the year. Westbrook has converted only 31.8% of his field-goal attempts over the last six games, averaging 12.8 points. He’s also gone 0-for-15 from behind the 3-point line during that stretch.

Still, Westbrook ended the key possession in crunch time against the Kings with a 25-foot pull-up jumper — which didn’t find the net, just as his four previous attempts from downtown. The play all but buried the Lakers’ hopes for a comeback; Chimezie Metu sank a triple shortly after, extending Sacramento’s lead to seven points with just 46.7 seconds left in the game.

“I got to look at the tape to see about that final situation,” said head coach Frank Vogel. “But we’re working with Russ. He’s receiving our coaching and just trying to put him in positions to succeed and he’s just in a slump right now finishing at the basket and shooting from the perimeter and we just got to stay with it and help him through it.”

Westbrook notably passed up an opportunity to make a layup earlier in the game. But Vogel doesn’t think Westbrook’s confidence in his shooting ability has taken a hit amid the guard’s recent slump.

“I thought that play he sensed traffic, and we’re telling all of our guys that when there’s traffic, we’re playing with space, so find a shooter,” Vogel said.

“So that’s probably what he was looking at in that moment, I got to look at the tape.”

Westbrook doesn’t make excuses amid recent shooting woes but isn’t panicking either

Westbrook owned up to his recent shooting struggles after the loss to the Kings. The guard added he will put in extra effort to get out of the slump as soon as possible.

“For me, I don’t point fingers,” Westbrook said. “I always look at myself and figure out ways to become better, but one thing I never do is panic. I never lack confidence in myself and what I’m capable of doing, but I am and will put more pressure on myself to be better, especially on the offensive end and making some shots as we move forward.

“That’s for me something I can move forward with and something I can look myself in the mirror and be able to make adjustments to be needed.”

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