Kendrick Perkins didn't call out his teammates by name.
But I'll give you one guess who the big fellow was talking to after the Thunder's disappointing loss to the Heat.
“I just feel like ... we just got to start getting back to who we are as individuals,” Perk told our man Darnell Mayberry after the Christmas Day game. “Turning off the TV and stop looking at articles on ourselves and start just losing ourselves in the team a little bit more, then the sky's the limit.
“We just got to start knowing what got us here and what each guy did to get us to this point. 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.”
In other words, grow up and get over yourself.
He's looking at you, Russell Westbrook.
On the same court where he scored 43 points in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Thunder point guard reminded us Wednesday that he is still a work in progress. Reinforced, too, that if the Thunder is ever to reach the tip top of the mountain, Westbrook is the key.
He has to be better.
Good news is, he can be.
That much has been evident this season. Just think how few and far between these stinker games have become. Sure, Westbrook has been in a shooting slump of late, but because he's been doing so many other things well, his game hasn't been in a slump.
That wasn't always the case.
Used to be if Westbrook's shot was off, so was he. Now, instead of sulking, he plays tighter defense or grabs more rebounds or makes better passes.
The guy has been downright phenomenal this season.
Then came Christmas.
Westbrook had that crazy-eyed, out-of-control look that Thunder fans know all too well. He made some drives to the basket that resulted in ugly shots or uglier turnovers. He scored 21 points but took 19 shots, making only five. He committed five turnovers but managed only three assists.
He played out of sync, and as a result, so did the offense.
Worse, his defense seemed to suffer from his poor offense. Dwyane Wade broke wide open a couple of times when Westbrook was guarding him.
That shouldn't happen.
Then, of course, there was the final Thunder possession. Westbrook did amazing work to corral a Kevin Durant miss, then got off a three-pointer. While there is no fault in taking that shot, Westbrook was trying to draw contact instead of trying to make it. He didn't take a controlled shot with a good motion. He heaved the ball toward the goal like a medicine ball, extending his arms awkwardly and kicking his leg wildly.
When Westbrook was knocked down and no foul was called — replays showed that Wade hit him on the wrist — he yelled an expletive, pounded a scorer's table and drew a technical.
Truth is, that leg kick might've just as easily been called a foul on Westbrook as any contact he took.
Officiating aside, though, Westbrook has got to stay under control. Not just some of the time. Not just most of the game. He has to do that all of the time.
At least against teams like the Heat.
Against the Wizards or the Hornets or some other cellar dweller, Bad Russ can come out to play and not doom the Thunder. But against the Heat — whether it be on Christmas Day or in the NBA Finals — Good Russ has to triumph.
Given the way Westbrook has improved in the past year, there is no doubt he can improve this part of his game, too.
And for this team to one day win an NBA title, it needs Westbrook to become that player. The guy who plays to his individual strengths but gets lost in the team.
That's what Perk was talking about after the game Tuesday, and as a guy who played for championship teams, he knows of what he speaks. He knows, too, that he's talking about doing something that's tough. Really tough. But it's what separates the good players from the great ones.
Russell Westbrook is on the verge of great, and once he gets there, nothing will stop the Thunder, not even the Heat.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.