Kawhi Leonard Randomly Drug Tested by NBA After Hitting Game-Winner vs. Rockets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2017

SAN ANTONIO,TX - MARCH 6: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over Houston Rockets players at AT&T Center on March 6, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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Kawhi Leonard added a signature sequence to his MVP candidacy during Monday's 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets before the NBA reportedly selected him for a random drug test in the immediate aftermath, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN.

Leonard hit a go-ahead three and blocked fellow MVP candidate James Harden within the final 30 seconds of the dramatic win on his way to 39 points, six rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.

While the timing may seem suspicious following such a superhuman performance, Wright clarified the NBA randomly tests several times throughout the year, with four coming during the season.

Wright stressed Leonard "would've been tested if he had gone 0 for 40," quelling any lingering suspicion about the NBA's decision.

With that question answered, attention can turn to whether Leonard will win the MVP over the likes of Harden, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. Josh Eberley of Hoop magazine noted Leonard's thriving against elite competition with MVP-caliber play Monday was business as usual this season:

Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 @JoshEberley

Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs are 8-1 vs. BOS/GSW/HOU/OKC/CLE... In those games Leonard is averaging: 30.8 PPG 5.8 RPG 3.6 APG 2.1 SPG #MVP

The Spurs leader is averaging 26.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep.

two-time Defensive Player of the Year, he guards the opponent's best player on a nightly basis, as he did with Harden on Monday. Opponents are shooting 1.6 percent worse than their normal averages when he guards them this season, per NBA.com.

With that defensive dominance in mind, teammate Pau Gasol discussed Leonard's MVP candidacy after Monday's contest, per Tim Cato of SB Nation, "He's contributing on both ends of the floor as opposed to a guy who just scores 30 PPG and that is it."

Leonard certainly did just that against the Rockets with the game on the line, even if he had to prove he was clean after the victory.


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