Paul George says shooting feels 'funny' as slump continues

OKLAHOMA CITY -- After shooting 5-of-19 against the Golden State Warriors in a 111-107 loss, Thunder forward Paul George said he has "got to figure it out" with regard to a shooting slump that has plagued him over the past month.

"There's something mechanical in my shot," he said. "I've had struggles throughout the season and my career of shooting, but it's all just been about not making shots. I don't know what it is. It feels funny. Shooting the ball feels funny. So I'm going to work with the trainers and try and figure that out. But I don't feel myself shooting the ball right now."

George complained about tightness in his right forearm early in the season and received treatment for it periodically. In late January, though, George said the tightness had gone down and he was feeling comfortable again. Throughout his career, George has been streaky with his shooting, but he said this stretch is different.

"It's just my shooting, period," George said. "I don't know what's stiff, what's tight. Something's going on in my shooting."

Entering the All-Star break, George was shooting a career-high 43 percent from 3, even earning himself a spot in the 3-point competition. Since the break, he has hit just 28.9 percent from deep and 37.1 percent overall.

George talks often about rhythm and comfort as a shooter, and against the Warriors he started well, hitting three of his first four shots, with two coming from 3. In the second quarter, the Thunder went cold as a team, hitting 6-of-26. They finished the game at 37.6 percent. Russell Westbrook nearly carried OKC to a win, scoring 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting, but the rest of the team combined to go just 20-of-67 (29.9 percent).

"I take it on myself," George said. "We've got to do a better job of helping Russ."

"[Westbrook] was great. He was great," George said. "He took it to another level, a level those guys didn't have an answer for. It's frustrating when we see that and notice that and we can't help him by making shots and putting the ball in the basket."

George was adamant that the shooting struggles aren't a confidence or mental issue.

"We're not pressing. We're not pressing," he said. "I know what I can offer, what I can do in this league. I'm not pressing. But it is frustrating, more than anything, it is frustrating to not be able to carry our own weight and help in those moments."

Known as one of the top two-way players in the league, George was important in keeping the Thunder close with his defense on Kevin Durant in the second half, giving Westbrook a chance to steal it.

"That goes along with myself not helping Russ secure the win tonight," George said. "If I make shots and I put that pressure on them, we win this game tonight."