NBA Playoffs 2014: Kawhi Leonard drives and dunks (GIF)

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

For multiple stretches of game three of the Western Conference Finals, it has felt like the San Antonio Spurs should be behind the Oklahoma City Thunder by double digits.

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With both teams committing a number of turnovers, however, the game has stayed close. The Spurs have gotten contributions from a number of players, with Kawhi Leonard predictably among them.

At certain times this season it has looked like Leonard had claimed a spot among the notorious “big three.” If he hadn’t replaced Manu Ginobili in that group he could certainly make the case that he is player 3B in that group. For an idea of how Leonard vaulted himself to that status, observe this impressive drive and dunk from game three on Sunday night.

@ZProphet_MMA /

It’s not so much that Leonard dunked on Serge Ibaka, per se, but he did well and showed impressive athleticism to avoid Ibaka’s contest and throw this dunk down. The Spurs are nothing if not efficient offensively, so it is not surprising to see them make sure to get the ball moving towards the rim on offense in a tightly contested game on the road.

It seems to be the cliche of every playoff series, but it rings true nevertheless in this series between the Spurs and Thunder: whichever team dictates tempo on any given night is going to win. The Thunder will try to speed things up to disrupt the Spurs and get some points on the break. Meanwhile, the Spurs will try to get things going in the half court. This drive from Leonard is just one example of how they can hurt opposing teams in that context.