Contributions come from young guns
Booker, Seraphin giving team a spark
SAN ANTONIO | For the Washington Wizards, trying to put together a few wins starts with small steps.
And they’re coming from two of the younger players — forwards Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin.
Booker, regarded as a defensive specialist, has added offensive punch, and Seraphin appears to have turned a corner in his understanding of fundamentals.
Seraphin played his best game of the season last week against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Booker played one of his best games as well, scoring 18 points and not hesitating to help guard a couple of 7-footers in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
“Kevin, it’s his best game that he’s had since he’s been here,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “He was under control. He rebounded, he made shots. He took shots under control, no quickness to it. He defended. He banged Bynum. As for [Booker], I couldn’t take him out in the second half.”
It’s the kind of breakthrough that management has been looking for in its mandate to develop young players.
The Wizards likely will struggle to put up wins during their 10-day road trip, which began Monday night in San Antonio.
On Tuesday, the Wizards face Dallas. Washington will play five games in seven nights and six games in 10 nights, including two sets of back-to-backs. New Orleans (Thursday) and New Jersey (March 21) are the only teams with losing records they will face.
In the meantime, veteran guards Roger Mason Jr. and Maurice Evans have seen more playing time and increased the maturity level on the court.
The Wizards have proved that they can beat good — even elite — teams with the proper focus and preparation, as evidenced by wins over Oklahoma City and the Lakers.
But to build upon those victories, they have to avoid the bad habits of playing one-on-one basketball when they get down by large margins and losing focus on the defensive end.
“It’s all about attention to detail,” Wittman said during a pregame shootaround before the team left Verizon Center. “Our attention to detail [against the Lakers] was fabulous. If we can keep that up, improve our preparation, that’s what, hopefully, can go a long way for us in terms of that mentality, of staying in the game.”
Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin, dunking against Golden State on March 5, played perhaps his best game of the season in Washington’s 106-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers two days later.