Kawhi Leonard's spin move on Kevin Durant helped the Spurs put the Thunder away

Ronald Martinez

The Spurs' lead over the Thunder had been fifteen points, but Oklahoma City chipped it away to nothing before finally taking the lead late in the third quarter. San Antonio built it back to eleven points early in the fourth, but it was still very much a game when Reggie Jackson missed a three-pointer that would have cut San Antonio's advantage to just eight.

Kawhi Leonard rebounded the miss and brought the ball up the court and Kevin Durant picked him up. Kawhi tried to brush Durant off an Aron Baynes screen, but Caron Butler helped and Leonard passed back to Marco Belinelli. Then the game seemed to pause as no one on the Spurs did anything.

The usually manic San Antonio offense just stood there as time ticked off the shot clock. Belinelli dribbled backwards as nine other men stared at him. It was one of those times when the game seemed to hang in the balance. Score and put the game out of reach, or stagnate to let the opponent off the canvas.

Finally, Aron Baynes ran from his position on the left block up toward Marco to set a screen, but Belinelli was already passing back to Kawhi on the left side of the court, about five feel outside the three-point line. With Danny Green buried in the near corner, Tony Parker all the way across the court in the other corner and Marco and Aron occupying their men on the three-point line and the right elbow, Kawhi took matters into his own, notoriously large hands.

Leonard began his drive on Durant to the right, then angled to his left, took a couple of dribbles with his left hand along the left side of the paint. As Reggie Jackson helped off Green and swiped at the ball, Kawhi picked up his dribble and spun to his right. Now back-to-back with Durant, Kawhi avoided Steven Adams, completed his spin with the ball in his right hand and his momentum carrying him past the basket.

As he crossed the paint, he brought the ball down, then right back up, extended his arm and spun the ball off the backboard and through the hoop as the crowd made one of those weird two-stage, "OOOHHHHhhhhh, WWWWWOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!" sounds.

Kawhi was still moving to his right, and having gotten his legs somewhat tangled with Adams, his landing was off-balance and he fell to the court, crab-walking backwards with his hands to keep from doing a backward somersault.

The score pushed the lead back up to 13 and the crowd went wild as the Thunder called a time out. Jogging back to the Spurs bench, Kawhi slowly shook his head back and forth, as if to say, "No biggie. Still lots of ball to play still."

Kawhi's bucket was part of a 20-11 run that stretched until just about four minutes left in the game and San Antonio up 16. The Spurs won 122-105.

and also

Go here to see the play in Phantom slow motion.

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