Kendrick Perkins has played a major role in helping resolve issues within the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room, whether it be a player's lack of shots or Serge Ibaka's recent bench incident with coach Scott Brooks.

"I get phone calls at all hours of the night from different teammates," Perkins said. "And I've got to tell them: OK, you didn't get yours tonight but…

"So OK, take Serge [Ibaka]. I'll tell him, "OK man, you got seven points tonight, then you need to go get eight blocks. Some nights it's not going to be your night, where you can touch the ball. It's like that on this team, especially when you've got scorers like Russ, K.D. and Kevin Martin leading the league in scoring."

Most importantly, Kendrick sees a distinct change in Russell Westbrook's leadership.

"His communication skills toward everybody have been off the charts," Perkins said. "We used to call Russ, 'Trey,' as in Russell Westbrook III. He would act like a little Trey, where he would go off and no one could talk to him last year. It happened a few times. But there's been none of that this year. He's been a great leader."