Westbrook: 3s not always for the best

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Often criticized for his shot selection, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said Monday that he needs to cut back on the number of 3-pointers he attempts.

"I need to stop taking as many as I'm taking, to tell you the truth," he said. "I'm going to take those down as the season goes along."

Westbrook, who has actually reduced the number of long balls he's attempting this season to 3.4 per game from a career-high 4.7 last season, said despite lowering his 3-point shots already, he wants to be more selective with them.

"It's not always a great shot for myself or my team. So I've got to do a better job of taking those out," he said. "My advantage is attacking, regardless of who's in front of me. That's my advantage. And I've got to use my advantage to help my team and help myself."

Westbrook is shooting a career-high 46.2 percent from the field and was at a career-high percentage from 3 a week ago. But he's missed 14 of 17 from deep in the past three games.

He attempted three 3s in the final three minutes -- including a failed game-winning attempt at the buzzer -- against the Pelicans on Sunday, and then he bristled at questions about his perceived lack of passing. In the final four minutes of the game, however, Westbrook went 0-of-6 with one turnover and didn't pass once.

"I thought he took maybe two or three too many last night," coach Scott Brooks said. "The ones when his feet are set, those are ones all our guys can make. The ones behind screens off the dribble, those are tough shots. ... But his shot selection for the month of December since he's been back has been good."

After practice Monday, Westbrook gave an out-of-character lengthy response when asked about what goes into his late-game decision-making.

"Depends how the game is going," he said. "Depends what's working, depends on what's worked throughout the game. You have to see the flow of the game. You have to actually watch the game and know what's going on, know what sets is being ran, know what plays is being ran, know who's guarding who, know who's a bad defender, know who's not a bad defender, know who's slow, know who's fast, know who's not smart. There's a lot of things you have to take into consideration.

"And I think it's very important people understand the game, not just the stats," he continued. "You have to honestly understand the game, understand what's going on throughout the game. Lotta people don't watch the game unless it's on TV. So if you don't watch our games, you don't know exactly what's going on. You may turn the game on in the fourth quarter and say, 'Oh, s---, what's going on?' Make sure you watch the first quarter and see what's working for us. Watch the second quarter. Watch the third quarter. If you don't know personnel, you don't know anything. So I think it's very important people know exactly for each individual player what's going on throughout the game."