Kevin Seraphin said he almost cried when the French National Anthem was played at Madison Square Garden prior to Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The camera was on him so he thought better of letting down some tears he said but it would have been understandable.
“I had goose-bumps,” Seraphin said. “I wanted to cry but the camera was (there) so I was like, I can’t do that.”
The Paris native has had a rough few days since the awful terrorist attacks that killed over 100 people in France. It was hard to know when the next time Seraphin was going to hit the court with the New York Knicks, but Coach Derrick Fisher thought that time.
Seraphin, a French native shaved “PARIS” into back of his head in remembrance of the terror attack in France, had a total of 10 points, seven rebounds and no assists on the season. The Knicks center almost doubled all of that as he logged in a fantastic 14 minutes of play in the second half scoring a season best 12 points on 6-8 shooting and three rebounds to help lead the New York Knicks to a 95-87 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon. New York is now 5-6 overall and captured their second home win.
The French big man played his best ball of the season making hook shots and beating the shot clock with long jumpers. He was not surprised when Fisher brought him into the game.
“I was ready when Coach called my name,” said Seraphin. “He’s been talking to me, telling me to stay ready. I have been running a lot on the treadmill keeping my shape, getting my weight down. He finally called my name today and I was ready and I am pretty happy about it.”
“He’s been working hard to keep himself in shape even though he has not played a lot of minutes,” said Fisher. “We felt like he was active enough and energetic enough to give us a punch. We know what he can do offensively but it was good to see the defensive rebounding.”
Lost in Seraphin’s great game was an even better performance from Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks star forward had 29 points and a season high of 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, but felt that Seraphin was the player of the game.
“He gets the game ball,” said Anthony. ” He deserved it. He was ready. He was a big part of our run that we made in the second half. To see him, and what he is dealing with emotionally and mentally, be prepared today when his number was called was big.”
Sensing Seraphin had the hot hand, Anthony isolated Seraphin on the block for several post-up plays down the stretch.
“When you see the star of the team, especially a guy like (Anthony), giving me the ball and telling me to get in the post and he’d get me the ball, it gives you confidence,” Seraphin said.
“There have been games where probably felt like he should have been playing,” said Anthony. “Today his number was called and he showed what he can do out there to help us.”
Seraphin, who spends time in France each summer, shared his thoughts on the attacks after Friday’s game.
“Just crazy out there,” he said. “There’s nobody on the street. It’s hard because it can happen anywhere. My mom and Dad both live in Paris so it is very scary. You can’t be scared, and just fight through it. I also play for the Knicks and have to be professional and they pay me to play, so basically I have to keep working. It’s a hard time but we will stand strong and keep working.”
Seraphin talked about a conversation he had with Fisher prior to the game, and talked about what the coach wanted to see him do.
“He told me he expects more from me on the defensive end,” said Seraphin. ” He said I am gifted offensively but he just wants e to get more rebounds and stops, and contribute on defensive end.”