First father-son clash a night to remember for Rivers family
BOSTON -- Austin Rivers had been struggling. He was a 20-year-old rookie who had not made a shot in five games. Over the past three weeks he had missed 23 of his 26 attempts at the basket. "I'm just going to lose myself in the game," he promised, as if speaking to himself. But he wasn't speaking to himself. He was speaking to a room filled with reporters one hour before the game he would play against his father. His father, Doc, has been coach of the Boston Celtics since 2004. For the sake of familiarity, Austin and his mother and siblings had remained in Orlando, and he had grown up visiting Boston to see his father during school vacations. As a teenager he would shoot at the Celtics' facility among their future Hall of Famers. He grew up wanting to play among them. Of course he grew up wanting to be like his father. "I just got to keep working hard so one day I can be like him," he recalled saying to himself several years ago. His father was an All-Star point guard who played 13 seasons in the NBA. On Wednesday night, he was a 51-year-old coach with a championship ring and the responsibility of trying to beat the New Orleans Hornets. Rivers understood that the Celtics were paying his father to exploit the weaknesses of his son. "I just have to go out there and play my best and help my team win, whereas he has to go out there and try to game plan against me, and then he wants to be happy for me at the same time," said Rivers. "I'm sure he doesn't really like all this, so I know he's waiting for this night to be over with; whereas for me, I'm waiting for it to get started."