Kevin Seraphin getting points, without getting to the line

December 6, 2012

Playing great, Kevin. But you know, one free throw would be nice. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat came charging, but the Wizards kept responding with Kevin Seraphin. Seraphin scored 16 points in the Wizards’ 105-101 upset win over Miami, with eight of them coming in the fourth quarter after his team had squandered a 12-point lead.

Chris Bosh tied the game at 88, Seraphin made a baseline jumper. James brought the Heat within one point, Seraphin made a baseline jumper, then dropped in a soft, uncontested layup. James cut the deficit to 99-97 with a layup, Seraphin buried a jump hook from the left side of the hoop before the Wizards closed out the game from the foul line.

“That’s big pressure,” Seraphin said. “When I play, it just come like that. You don’t think about it.”

Seraphin saw his 18-game streak of scoring in double figures snapped earlier this season, but he is starting another after posting at least 10 points in his past four games, averaging 14.3 points over that stretch. He has reached double figures in seven of nine games overall, but the Wizards don’t want him to be satisfied with his production.

Though he ranks second to Jordan Crawford for the team lead in scoring at 11.8 points per game, Seraphin could undoubtedly do better if he would just initiate some contact with his burly body. Seraphin weighs 275 pounds but he plays an effective finesse game inside, using his deft footwork and delicate touch to score without taking a beating.

The Wizards attempted 29 free throws in the win over Miami but the victory represented the ninth game that Seraphin failed to get to the foul line. Seraphin has made 7 of 12 free throws and has shot more than two in a game only once this season.

“I have to lean more on my guy when I play, because now, I just play with my hook, my shot, and everything,” Seraphin said. “If you want to play inside, you have to be tough.”

At the end of Wednesday’s practice, Seraphin and Nene both worked on post moves with assistant Don Newman using a pad to push and force them out of their comfort zones. Coach Randy Wittman is trying to encourage Seraphin to use his size to his advantage.

“He’s got to continue to grow. We’re trying to continue his growth in the post at being more able to get to the foul line, drawing contact with his post moves, being more aggressive on a face-up,” Wittman said. “When you’re attacking and you’re in the bonus, a hand check is two free throws. Instead of just always settling for a quick move. We’re just trying to evolve his game.”

Nene has played only five games but has attempted 28 free throws, nearly matching Seraphin’s season total with 10 free throw attempts in his debut at Atlanta. Seraphin said he wants to develop a “power move” and plans to learn from watching his “big brother,” Nene.

“Everything he did. Everything he will do, I will look at him,” Seraphin said. “Like even if he drink something, I look at how he drink. I just look at him every time.”

Michael Lee has covered the Wizards and the NBA at the Washington Post since October 2004.
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Michael Lee | December 5, 2012