Saturday night was a career game for Kawhi Leonard as he scored a career-high 41 points for the San Antonio Spurs in a 118-115 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The win came on the road against the defending NBA champions, which proves they will be able to win in hostile territory once the playoffs come.
In the win, Leonard recorded his 6th straight 30-point game as well as his 14th overall of the season. As a player who was once known as the all-around guy who could serve his role while letting Tim Duncan and Tony Parker do all of the work, the former San Diego State Aztec has evolved quite quickly into a dominant scorer.
The last time a Spurs player had 6 straight games with 30+ pts, Kawhi Leonard wasn’t born yet pic.twitter.com/LOrHZyojou
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 22, 2017
Leonard’s career thus far has been historic and impressive, but he has bought into the system, resulting in him not putting up huge scoring numbers each night. Although his scoring may not be at the top of the league, he is always a consistent producer. Even more importantly than scoring, Leonard wins game, which is what the league is all about.
Kawhi is having the best season of his young career, averaging 25.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals and .7 blocks per game. With numbers like these, Leonard has entered himself into the NBA MVP discussion even if that award will likely go to James Harden or Russell Westbrook.
What a night for Kawhi!
Leonard scores a career-high 41 points to help the Spurs beat the Cavs in OT, 118-115 pic.twitter.com/xCJkznliHp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 22, 2017
At only 25 years of age, Leonard’s best basketball is in the future, which could be scary for the league. Somebody this talented being a part of such a dominant franchise makes the Western Conference lethal for years to come, and will make it hard for the Golden State Warriors to have an easy path to the NBA Finals.
The win improves San Antonio to 34-9 in the season, moving them 3 games behind the Golden State Warriors for the first seed in the Western Conference standings. Although the Warriors will likely hold onto that spot for the remainder of the season, the Spurs are solidifying their place as the second seed, which will secure them home-court advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.