If you didn't catch any of the Spurs' series-clinching win over the Blazers last night—yet another perfectly orchestrated, Spursian blowout—the only highlight you really need to watch is the one above.
That's Kawhi Leonard hounding Nic Batum into making an easily stolen pass, rocketing up the court and erasing the angle that not one but two Blazers defenders had on him, and then skying for a picture-perfect dunk. That highlight is pretty much the game in a nutshell. The Spurs bullied the Blazers into 18 turnovers and blitzed them with 33 fast-break points. It's that second stat that's rather remarkable, as the Spurs haven't scored that many points on the break in any postseason game since the 1997-98 season, according to ESPN's Stats and Information. They have Leonard to thank for the rare outburst of pace—12 of his 22 points came on the break, and his baseball-mitt hands snatched five steals from the Blazers.
It's almost unfair that the Spurs even have Leonard. Here is a team that has spent more than a decade transforming itself into a kind of basketball-playing superorganism, and now it's found an athletic, marauding forward who fits perfectly into the shared consciousness. Leonard's been in the league for three seasons, and he's gotten better across the board each year. This season, he averaged 12 points, six rebounds, and nearly two steals per game while quietly becoming one of the most efficient scorers in the league. I mean, look at this damn shot chart, and try to wrap your head around the fact that he scored 1.08 points per possession this season, good for the 15th-best mark in the league.
It is of course much easier for a player like Leonard to find success on a team that doesn't ask him to be the star. The Spurs' divinely crafted system allows Leonard to be the best current version of himself, but it may not be long before we see him reach yet another level. The Big Three will age out, and the fate of the team is going to fall onto Leonard's young shoulders. That may seem like a less-than-ideal situation for a guy who only scores 12 points per game, but when watching the play above, it's easier to imagine him rising to the challenge.