Over 200 years ago, another Washington team found itself in all out battle with a fierce adversary, the champions of their day. While Washington's squad didn't have the winning pedigree their world champion opponents did, what they did have was effort, determination and a willingness to take what their opponents defense gave them. In the end though, it may have been the help of Washington's French ally, Lafayette, that helped save the day against their more established rival..
On Tuesday, history replayed itself as a Washington team once again found itself in a jam against a great, powerful empire. After leading much of the night they found themselves in a critical situation late in the conflict, and this time, it was another powerful Frenchman that came to their rescue; a man by the name of Kevin Seraphin.
When Seraphin entered the game with 11:07 left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards seemed on the precipice of a potential collapse. Clinging precariously to a 1 point lead, the Wizards were in danger of finding another way to lose against a Spurs team that they had failed to vanquish in the last 17 tries. With their floor general John Wall exiting the game, the Wizards needed their bench to keep pace with the Spurs formidable reserves, and Seraphin was up for the fight.
He started with his go to move, backing down fellow Frenchman Boris Diaw and hitting a banked hook shot to give the Wizards a 3 point lead. Next he got Spurs sniper Danny Green to go for a pump fake, sliding past him to hit a jumper in the paint. Seraphin continued to make his mark in other ways, grabbing offensive rebounds on consecutive possessions and putting them back up for baskets.
Kevin showed his defenisve and passing skills as well, stuffing Spurs forward Jeff Ayres at the basket, then racing past the Spurs front line and finding fellow big man Kris Humphries for an open layup. Seraphin delivered the final decisive blow, catching a Wall pass under the basket and finishing to give the Wizards a 10 point lead with under a minute left. When Randy Wittman pulled Seraphin after a Tim Duncan missed free throw (conveniently timed as the crowd rose for the free Chik Fil A frenzy), the Verizon Center Crowd gave the Kevin Seraphin a much deserved ovation.
Serapin's line for the night: 17 points, 8 boards to go with a block and assist in just 19 minutes of basketball as the Wizards finally prevailed over the Spurs for the first time since 2005.
"I just play basketball," the always succinct Seraphin said post game, citing his confidence and desire to bounce back from an embarassing loss to Atlanta as helping to spur his strong play. His teammate Paul Pierce knew Seraphin was feeling good after tonight's performance, yelling in the background: "He ain't ducking out on the media tonight. He's gonna stand there and talk a long time tonight, huh? French and Spanish."
Speaking more seriously, Pierce had a good deal of praise for Seraphin's performance. "It was huge, we were able to go to him offensively and he got some big baskets and some hustle plays with offensive putbacks," Pierce told the media. "Rebounding was huge for us tonight, he was able to grab boards and I told him the other day that when the shot isn't falling and you're not getting the ball, you got to get the rebound because then you're involved in the game."
Seraphin's other teammates were just as complimentary of their teammate's game. Bradley Beal said "He was definitely player of the game in my opinion. Just in terms of rebounding, scoring, just doing the little things. Guys think points matter the most, but he was out there communicating, screening and doing everything we needed him to do."
When Washington's frontline needed reinforcement from their reserves, the young Frenchman was there to come to their rescue. While Washington can't expect this every night, if they can know they can get consistent contributions on defense and the boards from Seraphin, it will go a long way. And knowing, I am told, is half the battle.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, Snapchat @KSlife13