Kevin Seraphin gets surprise start, has strong finish

Kevin Seraphin found out that he would start in place of the injured Nene about 30 minutes before the Wizards’ 88-76 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday at TD Garden. He was surprised because he was unaware that Nene had been experiencing back trouble before arriving at the arena.


I had a career high. So what. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

In his fifth start of the season – and fourth since JaVale McGee was traded to Denver – Seraphin had 15 points, 11 rebounds and a blocked shot. He also was able to limit Kevin Garnett to just 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting, but the Wizards spent so much time playing from behind, Seraphin said his production felt hollow.

“It doesn’t mean nothing. I had my career high but we lost the game,” Seraphin said.

No one with the Wizards was pleased with the outcome on Sunday, when they trailed by 25 points in the first half, made a few feeble comeback attempts but never seriously threatened. But Seraphin continues to provide serviceable production since he became a regular rotation player. In his past seven games, Seraphin is averaging 10.4 points and 6.9 rebounds and may have to continue to play at a high level with Nene’s return uncertain because of back spasms.

“It’s a lot sore right now,” Nene said after the game. “I want to see for tomorrow. I’m going day-by-day. Two days ago, I started to feeling it a little bit. Yesterday, after the game, I feel like, ‘Oh man.’ It was pretty tight.”

Seraphin didn’t have much time to mentally prepare for the start and the Celtics took advantage early on, as they attacked the middle at almost every opportunity, with Rajon Rondo finding capable finishers – mostly Avery Bradley, who outscored the Wizards, 15-12, in the first period. Twelve of the Celtics’ first 12 points were in the paint and Coach Randy Wittman described his team’s defense, or lack thereof, as a “layup drill.”

Seraphin offered resistance on one trip, as he rejected a Marquis Daniels layup attempt, but he also struggled on the offensive end. He missed all four of his shot attempts in the first quarter.

“I think that first half, we are not ready,” Seraphin said.

But Seraphin bounced back, as he shot 6 for 11 the final three quarters, and even caught an alley-oop lob from John Wall for a dunk. He also had a rebound putback when the Wizards rallied to get within eight points in the third quarter. It was just too little, too late, though, because the Wizards didn’t have enough energy to finish the climb.

“That’s a good team,” Seraphin said of the Celtics. “Once they put us down 20, that’s difficult to come back, you know.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.

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