Leonard's 39 points, defense, lead Spurs by Harden, Rockets

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs

The quiet superstar had 39 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, ending the game with an emphatic all-around play that displayed his value on both ends of the floor-and boosted his bid for the MVP award. Leonard blocked Harden's shot on its way up a millisecond before it hit the backboard. "Obviously, the 3, you know Harden makes 3s". By carrying the Spurs to a thrilling 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets, Leonard made his official entry into the MVP chase in a way only he was ever going to: with his play on the court. Leonard is the fifth player in Spurs franchise history to be named Player of the Week at least four times, joining George Gervin (four), Tony Parker (eight), David Robinson (14) and Tim Duncan (23). San Antonio's shifting styles have kept it current with league trends and accentuated who's on the roster, but traditionally, that's meant that the Spurs's reputation has been slightly out of step with how the team is actually playing at any given moment.

Tony Parker added 19 points for the Spurs (49-13) while LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points for San Antonio, which took the season series with Houston 3-1. "James Harden had a phenomenal game, and it was a great contest - they came away at the end".

The test delayed Leonard from addressing the media after the game.

In all likelihood, even a sustained run of games like Monday night's won't do much to change Leonard's reputation as a souped-up role player. I don't know how you can't seriously consider him.

Now, those two games between the Spurs and Warriors could be the difference between him being in the running or being at the front of the line. Wright clarified that the National Basketball Association randomly tests throughout the season. And, even amid arguably the strongest race for the league's top honor in its history, his case is a worthy one.