Kawhi Leonard finishes in traffic (GIF)

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

The Western Conference Finals have largely been portrayed as a showdown between an uber-athletic Oklahoma City Thunder team and a slow, prodding San Antonio Spurs team.

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In terms of style of play that may or may not be the case. It certainly was in game four as the Thunder outscored the Spurs in transition by an astounding mark of 21-0. That said, it would not be fair to present the Spurs as a team with no athleticism.

Kawhi Leonard showed as much with this crazy-athletic finish in traffic up around the rim on Thursday night.

Kawhi_Leonard /

This series has been one characterized by extreme runs from each team. For two games in San Antonio it looked like the Spurs were unstoppable. For the next two games it looked like the Thunder, complete with Serge Ibaka back in the lineup, were the team to beat.

With all things even once again and the series back in San Antonio for game five, the outcome will be impacted by players like Leonard: the top players who do not necessarily grab the headlines or the talking points of the series.

The Spurs are asking a lot of Leonard in this series. In addition to holding up his important role in the starting lineup on the offensive side of things, he is one of their top perimeter defenders as they deal with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. While Leonard is relatively fresh-faced in terms of the Popovich-Duncan era, he is nevertheless important to this team’s chances to get another ring.