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NBA scores 2015: Kawhi Leonard's transformation to an MVP candidate is complete

Leonard has been in peak form so far this season.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The most exclusive, least well-known club in the NBA is made up of only eight players. Only 15 times has an individual recorded at least five points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in a single game. On Friday, Kawhi Leonard fell the tiniest of margins away from making it 16.

In a 91-80 Spurs win, Leonard recorded 25 points, seven rebounds, six assists, five blocks and four steals. More impressively, he played only 32 minutes. With a few more chances, it seems almost guaranteed that he could have jacked the ball from some poor, unsuspecting guard. Alas, San Antonio led too convincingly to make that happen, moving to 13-3 while winning their fourth in a row.

Leonard is leading the charge for San Antonio, who boast the second-best record in the NBA. In the four-game win streak, the Spurs held all four teams under 84 points. For the season, San Antonio's defensive rating of 93.4 is best in the NBA. While Gregg Popovich will always shy away from making it about one player -- and clearly, the Spurs' success always comes from their team model -- Leonard is far and away the biggest contributor.

It's his soul-sucking defensive ability to check nearly any player on the floor, regardless of who they are or how hot they've gotten. It's his 22 points on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 46.6 percent shooting from deep. It's his Popovichian attitude. It's his clutch shot making, like a dagger three-pointer that put away the resilient Mavericks for good on Wednesday night in a roaring AT&T Center. It's that there's literally nothing on the basketball court foreign to him, nothing he's not able to do, as evidence by his gaudy accumulation of stats on Friday that nearly put him in the rare 5x5 club.

If not for Stephen Curry's video game theatrics in Golden State, Leonard might legitimately be atop the MVP race. Certainly Russell Westbrook and Paul George, among others, would have something to say about that in the long run. But Leonard's performances so far have been incredible for a team that's only lost three games in 16 tries. And we all know the Spurs won't even be operating at their peak abilities until March, anyway!

Leonard came into the NBA as a freakish athlete without a jump shot or a defined NBA role. Now he's an MVP candidate for one of the best teams in the league and -- just 24 -- their centerpiece as they begin to forge into a new era of Spurs basketball. There are hundreds of more games for Leonard to actually become the ninth player to go 5x5, but no club membership is needed to realize just how incredible he has become.

3 other things we learned

Someone stop the Warriors before it's too late

Here's a list of things Golden State did tonight: they hit 15 three-pointers in the first half, which is the new NBA record for most three-pointers in one half. They hit 22 three-pointers for the game, which was one shy of tying the NBA record. Stephen Curry scored 41 points and dished eight assists in 31 minutes while sitting the entire fourth quarter. Draymond Green actually reentered the fourth quarter to make sure he nabbed his triple-double: 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The Warriors allowed 116 points, and won by 19.

We're going to have to find a new analogy other than "video games," because I couldn't even do that on a video game.

SB Nation presents: Stephen Curry is literally a video game

Are the 76ers improving or are the Rockets that bad?

Houston beat Philadelphia, sinking them to 0-17, tying them with last year's miserable start. But then you realize James Harden scored 50 points, grabbed nine rebounds, passed for eight assists and Houston only won by two points. But then the 76ers led by five points with just a few minutes to play before blowing their lead. Don't let the 116-114 score fool you -- this game was an all-around mess for both sides and we all should feel bad for the poor Philadelphia players who have no control over their roster and still can't eek out a victory through an entire month of the season.

The Pacers roll on

It's five straight wins for Indiana, who picked up a huge victory against the always tough Chicago Bulls. Paul George continues to lift the Pacers, leading the way on Friday with 33 points and eight rebounds. Don't look now, but Indiana has won four straight games and are tied with the Miami Heat as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.

Play of the night


5 fun things

Curry embarrasses Ronnie Price twice within seconds


Pretty sure this Evan Turner pass was so off it sailed into Mongolia

Jeremy Lin could have put this crossover against LeBron on his highlight reel forever ... if he had made the shot

D-Wade still got that crossover

Final scores

Thunder 103, Pistons 87 (Welcome to Loud City recap | Detroit Bad Boys recap)

Hawks 116, Grizzlies 101 (Peachtree Hoops recapGrizzly Bear Blues recap)

Rockets 116, 76ers 114 (The Dream Shake recapLiberty Ballers recap)

Pacers 104, Bulls 92 (Indy Cornrows recapBlog a Bull recap)

Heat 97, Knicks 78 (Hot Hot Hoops recapPosting & Toasting recap)

Celtics 111, Wizards 78 (CelticsBlog recapBullets Forever recap)

Magic 114, Bucks 90 (Orlando Pinstriped Post recapBrew Hoop recap)

Cavaliers 95, Hornets 90 (Fear the Sword recapAt the Hive recap)

Spurs 91, Nuggets 80 (Pounding the Rock recapDenver Stiffs recap)

Clippers 111, Pelicans 90 (Clips Nation recapThe Bird Writes recap)

Timberwolves 101, Kings 91 (Canis Hoopus recapSactown Royalty recap)

Warriors 135, Suns 116 (Golden State of Mind recapBright Side of the Sun recap)