MVP of Moral Victories: Analyzing Kevin Seraphin's Clutch Play

Ronald Martinez

Another loss, another step in Kevin Seraphin's development. Watch how the big guy nearly carried the Wizards to a win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Kevin Seraphin was focal point of the offense the fourth quarter, and it started with a nicely designed play that got the Mavericks’ defense over-extended. The Wizards began the play with a pick-and-roll between Cartier Martin and Kevin Seraphin. The Mavs were hedging hard on pick-and-rolls throughout the game, and Chris Kaman did exactly that as Martin came off the screen. His aggressive defense, however, left him trailing well behind Seraphin, who wasn’t running a pick-and-roll, after all. Instead, Seraphin continued to the opposite baseline and found himself wide open, as Kaman couldn't catch up.


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After Seraphin hit that shot, he went back into the post, where it was open season on Chris Kaman. First, Seraphin used his right-handed hook shot. As you can see in the first clip, Kaman probably knows it's coming, but Seraphin hits it anyway. On the next post-up, Kaman anticipates the right-handed hook, and is left flat-footed when Seraphin counters it with a turnaround jumper. Finally, instead of using strength, Seraphin finesses his way into the lane, as Kaman is left behind.


Seraphin did an excellent job of staying one step ahead of Kaman on each post up.

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The Mavericks tried to stop Seraphin from getting the ball by fronting the post. As the clips below show, Dallas’ fronting allowed Cartier Martin to make his big impact in the game. Seraphin was able to make very quick decisions and find Martin wide open on the weak side of the floor.


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Seraphin’s passing wasn’t just limited to quick touch passes, either. In the clip below, the Mavericks send a double team after Seraphin catches the ball, but he kicks it back out to Jordan Crawford on the perimeter. Fans will remember how much Seraphin struggled when Boston double-teamed him in crunch time. This time, his calm decision-making led to an easy (such a soft touch!) basket.



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Unfortunately, Seraphin’s strong play was wasted due to a few mental errors as time wound down. Jordan Crawford’s missed box-out will be cited as a big mistake, but Jannero Pargo committed a bigger offense, in my mind. Down by three, Pargo caught the ball on the wing, with only one defender left to cover both Pargo and the suddenly unstoppable Cartier Martin. Pargo faked a pass to Martin, anticipating that the defender would jump the passing lane. That plan didn’t work out, but it was forgivable because there was still plenty of time on the shot clock to work for a high quality shot. But Pargo, with no regard for this shot clockery, decided that this contested three-pointer was a proper shot. It wasn’t.


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Despite yet another loss, take some solace in the fact that Kevin Seraphin looked like a go-to player in the clutch. He scored, assisted, and played with composure in the face of double-teams. At some point we may even see him in the starting lineup.

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