Kendrick Perkins had a message for his teammates following the Thunder's 103-97 Christmas Day loss at Miami.
Get over yourselves.
“I just feel like — never overreacting to a loss — we just got to start getting back to who we are as individuals,” Perkins said. “Turning off the TV and stop looking at articles on ourselves and start just losing ourselves in the team a little bit more than the sky's the limit.”
Perkins did not single out any of his teammates but said the focus, as a team, needs to be on maintaining what it is that's made OKC successful early this season.
“We just got to start knowing what got us here and what each guy did to get us to this point,” Perkins said. “We just got to make sure we start knowing who we are and what we are and what we mean to this team as individuals and the rest will take care of itself.”
TEMPERS FLARE IN MIAMI
With 10:52 left to play Tuesday, a brawl nearly broke out between the Thunder and Heat after Shane Battier and Dwyane Wade delivered a hard foul on Russell Westbrook to stop a transition basket.
The contact, and Westbrook's momentum, sent the Thunder guard crashing into the basket support. He immediately got up and charged at Battier but quickly backed up. Battier, who fell into the crowd under the basket, rose to his feet and charged back at Westbrook, appearing to chest bump him.
The play initially was called a flagrant foul but was ruled a common foul following video review. Wade and Serge Ibaka were called for technical fouls after jawing and light shoving ensued.
Though a rivalry is possibly brewing between the Thunder and Heat, players and coaches from both sides reserve an appropriate level of respect for each other.
“It's two competitive organizations that had a great Finals last year,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “The outcome was not indicative of how close that series actually was.”
Spoelstra went on to compliment Oklahoma City for its continued development.
“That's a hungry group,” he said. “That's a motivated group. That's a talented group. There's a reason why that young core, and it's a tough thing to do in this league, has gotten better each year for four straight years.”
Prior to Tuesday's game, LeBron James had not been called for a foul in six straight games. He had played 224 minutes over that six-game span.
Against the Thunder, though, Spoelstra said James “probably should have four fouls” due to playing aggressively and making impactful plays with the ball on offense and against the ballhandler on defense.
James finished with three fouls in 42 minutes against the Thunder.
He was whistled for his first foul with 7:57 remaining in the opening quarter when he attempted to block a dunk by Serge Ibaka.
Coaches for both the Thunder and Heat wore green ribbons to remember the victims of the Newtown, Conn. Tragedy. … Notable faces in the crowd included Gladys Knight, Lil Wayne, Gabrielle Union, Ahmad Rashad and Adam Silver. … Five technical fouls were issued in Tuesday's game.