Hornets-Celtics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 15, 2013
It can't be easy for Doc Rivers to see his son struggle as a 20-year-old rookie in the NBA, but Austin Rivers' recent woes may make Wednesday night a bit less confusing for the Boston Celtics coach. The New Orleans Hornets guard has been seeing limited minutes heading into his first matchup with his father's team, which is going for its seventh consecutive victory. Doc Rivers said he was looking forward to facing his son after the Hornets drafted Austin 10th overall last summer, but he didn't seem as excited this week. "I'm actually not," the coach told the Celtics' official website. "I don't even know what I'm looking forward to. It's not like he's playing a ton anyway, but you never know. As far as him and being on the floor, that's just a different feeling. I still don't know how to feel about it." It's something only three previous fathers have experienced in the NBA, most recently in one of many matchups between Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Jr. in 2009. "It's just hard, because you want to beat him and then you want him to do (well)," Doc Rivers said. "It's just a lot of mixed emotions." It hasn't been an easy transition to the pros for Austin Rivers after only one season at Duke. He's shooting 32.8 percent - worst in the league among those who've taken at least 250 shots - and his minutes have plummeted since Eric Gordon's recent return. He's 0 for 9 from the field in his last five games, and he's been on the court for a combined 14 minutes in the last three. The Celtics (20-17) don't plan to take it easy on him. "I don't care if he's Doc's kid," forward Jeff Green said. "He gonna get mad at me? He wants us to stop him, right? If he comes through the lane, I'm gonna hit him. Welcome to the NBA, kid." The Hornets encounter a red-hot Boston team that's in the midst of its longest win streak since a 14-game run early in the 2010-11 season. A favorable five-game homestand has helped, beginning with victories over Phoenix, Houston and Charlotte. Rajon Rondo had his second triple-double in four games in Monday's 100-89 win over the Bobcats, posting 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting along with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. "Since we've been winning the locker room is a little bit more relaxed, guys aren't as tense," Rondo said. "It's nice to see that swagger on the court again." New Orleans (12-26) also has some newfound confidence after winning five of its last six. Coach Monty Williams' team opened a three-game road trip with a loss to New York on Sunday, but the Hornets bounced back Tuesday with a 111-99 win over Philadelphia. Gordon chipped in 19 points and Greivis Vasquez continued his improved play with 23 on 10-of-18 shooting while adding nine assists. Vasquez has averaged 18.5 points on 51.2 percent shooting and 10.3 assists in his last 11 games, a 7-4 stretch for New Orleans. "We have raised the expectation level for us," Gordon said. "When we have consistent play, and you combine that with the chemistry we now have, it is something to build off." The Hornets have won three of four against the Celtics, including a 19-point victory in the lone meeting last season and a two-point win in their last trip to Boston on Dec. 31, 2010.
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