Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/17/13
BOSTON — Austin Rivers is not having a rough start to his NBA career, in his eyes. It only looks that way. As far as the Hornets’ rookie is concerned, rough times are what his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, endured early in his coaching career, before bringing a 17th championship banner to Boston in 2008 and ascending to his current status as one of the best coaches in the game. Compared to those trying early years with the Celtics and the ignominious end in Orlando, Austin Rivers’ up-and-down campaign is nothing. “When [the Celtics] won versus L.A., I saw the emotion on my dad’s face,” Austin Rivers said Wednesday before taking on his dad’s team at the TD Garden. “That was probably the happiest I’ve ever felt for someone else. I was so proud and so happy, just because I’ve seen my father go through seasons where he’s only won 15 games, 20 games, and people have been in the stands holding signs saying, ‘Fire Doc.’ “You want to talk about a tough time? You think I’m having a tough time, my father’s gone through stuff 100 times worse, and look where he’s at now. To have someone in my corner who has been through all that, I know if he can do it, I’ve got to work hard and I can do it, too.” Of all the tough things Doc Rivers has had to do, he admitted that coaching against his son was one of the toughest. Doc and Austin Rivers became the fourth father-son duo to face each other as a coach and player in the NBA, joining Butch and Jan van Breda Kolff, Mike Dunleavy and Mike Dunleavy Jr., and George and Coby Karl. The best Doc Rivers could say about the experience was that it was “strange.” “It’s something I really did not look forward to,” Doc Rivers said. “You do in one way, in a parent way. The fact that you’re coaching a game that your son is playing in is a really neat moment. It’s not a moment I’ll enjoy now — maybe later. On the other end, it’s tough because you’re trying to win a game, and when you’re trying to win a game that your son is playing in, that’s different. It’s just unusual.” Before he scored eight points as the Hornets won, 90-78, to snap Boston’s six-game winning streak, Austin Rivers said he had this game highlighted on his schedule, along with matchups against storied franchises and star players he looked up to as a kid. He came into the game averaging only 6.2 points per game and shooting only 33 percent from the field. Among the top-10 picks in last summer’s draft, only Thomas Robinson of the Kings has a lower scoring average and none have shooting marks as poor as Rivers’. When Austin Rivers first checked in with a little more than four minutes left in the first quarter, Doc Rivers issued his entry into the Father of the Year competition by subbing out defensive menace Avery Bradley. Jason Terry, a much less formidable defender, covered Austin Rivers, who tossed in a runner on his first shot of the game. But Doc Rivers did not go easy on his son for long. Austin Rivers absorbed just as much contact when he went to the hoop as any opposing shooting guard would. When that contact sent him to the floor, the rest of the Rivers clan — which was well-represented for this historic occasion — might have cringed, but Dad did even give it a second thought. “That’s one thing my kids know with me — when you go to the floor, I don’t flinch,” Doc Rivers said. “They all laugh at that, because that’s how I’ve always been. My wife would run out there. I’m not. I say, ‘Get the hell up!’” Doc Rivers had one luxury in the game, however. He may not have cared how hard his son got hit, but he did not have to mete out the punishment. That fell to players like Kevin Garnett, who has watched Austin Rivers grow from a little boy staying to himself on the periphery of Celtics practice, to the older boy scrimmaging with the NBA players, and now as the young man who is one of them. “It was strange for everybody in here,” Garnett said. “If we didn’t feel a little old already, we felt a little old seeing that little kid who used to say absolutely nothing and dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world, to being a young man now in this league trying to make something of himself. “We root for him, obviously, when he’s away from here. But yeah, I’ll admit it. It was a little odd. He’s family, but when we all hit the floor, we’re all trying to win.” Before the game, to his credit, Austin Rivers abandoned all pretense of this being “just another game.” He knew it was not, although he and his father both hope that he has many other memorable moments and sets history of a different manner in his career. Basketball is an emotional game, but only against one team is Austin Rivers going to experience that certain type of emotion that comes with facing family. He joked that his mother, Kristen, would be rooting for the Hornets because “she loves me more,” and this is the only matchup he is likely to have where the word “love” is going to come up so often. “I was talking to the players a lot,” Austin Rivers said. “KG’s obviously talking. Courtney Lee and I are very close, so me and him were talking the whole game. Jason Terry, all those guys, I talked to them. But my dad didn’t really say anything to me — just before and after the game, he told me that he loved me, and he just told me to go out there and compete, so I did.” Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady issues statement on Facebook after having suspension lifted

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Redskins skip Robert Griffin III in jersey countdown

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Tom Brady issues statement on Facebook

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker