Kawhi Leonard use to be the player doing the little things for the historic trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
Now he’s become the man of the team as he lifts the San Antonio Spurs over the Oklahoma City Thunder 93-85, pushing the home streak to 41 wins in a row.
“We’re a humble ballclub,” Leonard said according to ESPN. “We just want to get better as each game goes as the season goes on. So, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. It’s just about us and are we going to execute, are we going to go out and have energy and play defense. We fought through the whole game tonight.”
Leonard finished the game with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He continues to strive for the Spurs averaging 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the last five games. But it’s not just him doing all of the work. LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and nine rebounds after redeeming himself in the first game of the season against Thunder, only having 11. Tim Duncan even at 40 years old contribute with his defense and scoring in big spots, but that’s not the case for the Thunder.
They now lead the league in blowing fourth quarter leads. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play well through three quarters, but disappear when it counts the most due to isolation play in the fourth.
“They hit shots down the stretch,” said Kevin Durant, who finished with 28 points. “Kawhi Leonard hit a few tough ones. Danny Green hit that big 3 in the corner. They hit shots in the fourth. We didn’t give them nothing. Both teams worked for everything they got tonight. It was a slugfest.”
Both teams overall play differently. The Spurs play team basketball, regardless of the stars they have on the team. The Thunder however rely on two stars in Westbrook and Durant. They are limiting themselves on being a great team. Instead they are a good talented team that won’t go as far as the second round of the postseason.
For the Spurs, they pose a threat to anyone including the Golden State Warriors with their unselfish play. The Thunder need to act quickly before their regular season slips away for positioning in the western conference.