Seraphin emerges in loss to Celtics

Seraphin emerges in loss to Celtics
November 4, 2012, 8:15 am
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When Kevin Seraphin stripped off his warmups and entered Saturday night’s game in place of starter Emeka Okafor, the Wizards already were trailing 17-4 and Kevin Garnett was wreaking havoc.

After Seraphin’s arrival the Wizards outscored the Celtics 82-72 and Seraphin outscored Garnett 19-11.

“He played him well defensively and he didn’t back down offensively,” Wizards swingman Martell Webster said. “He gave [Garnett] everything he could ever want. I really tip my hat to Kevin. For a guy not being in game shape he really went out there and performed.”

Sidelined since Oct. 13 with a right calf strain, Seraphin returned to practice on Thursday and didn’t miss a beat in his season debut against the Celtics. In addition to his 19 points, he grabbed seven rebounds, all off the defensive glass, in 28:35 of action.

Okafor managed just two points and one rebound in 16:36.

“It felt great,” Seraphin said. “I just came back. I just played hard, played my game on the rebound, on defense on everything.”

At 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, Seraphin proved to be a handful for the 6-foot-11, 253-pound Garnett.

“He can’t be stopped in the post,” Wizards forward Trevor Booker said. “I’ve always believed in him. If you can get him the ball down there he is going to go to work.”

If there is an edge Garnett has over Seraphin it’s experience and with 17 NBA seasons under his belt the 36-year-old veteran came up big when it mattered most against the Wizards’ 22-year-old forward.

With 28 seconds remaining and the Wizards trailing by one point, Garnett forced Seraphin into a turnover.

“He put some pressure on me,” Seraphin said. “That’s something I have to learn. I tried to pass the ball and I lost it. It was good defense, I can’t lie. It’s just something I have to work on from experience.”

Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he was impressed with Seraphin’s performance and is hoping the third-year forward can learn from the crucial minutes he’s getting with Nene sitting out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis.

“You’ve got to learn to make plays at some point,” Wittman said. “If you never put him in that situation he’s never going to learn.”