Doc Rivers is hoping his son, Austin, might hear his voice on the court, get confused, run the wrong play and turn the ball over.
Austin makes his TD Garden debut with the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night, and with Eric Gordon out of the lineup – coach Monty Williams doesn’t want to test the guard’s achy knee in back-to-back nights – Rivers could be in line for increased playing time after averaging less than five minutes on the court over the lat three games.
“I’m going against a team with guys that I know pretty well and my father coaches the other team, and it is what it is,” Rivers said before the game. “I’m just going to have fun with it. This is a fun chance, you know? I’m more exited to play against a playoff-caliber team, a hall of fame team.
“I don’t think my dad likes it just because it’s just different, too much maybe for him, because he has to balance more than I do. I just have to go out there and play my best and help my team win, where as he has to go out there and try to game-plan against me. And then he wants me to be happy for me at the same time. So he kind of has a double-edged sword.”
Austin said he thinks his dad is in the best coach in the NBA.
“This is strange, but something I really did not look forward to,” Doc said before the game. “The fact that you’re coaching a game that your son is playing in isn’t a real neat moment. It’s not a moment I’m enjoying now. Maybe later.”
BOSTON CELTICS (19-17)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Avery Bradley
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (9-27)
PG Greivis Vazquez
SF Al-Farouq Aminu
PF Anthony Davis
C Robin Lopez
Officials: Ken Mauer, Derrick Collins, Kevin Cutler
TV/Radio: 8:00 p.m. Comcast SportsNet / WEEI
• Williams said Gordon would not start at shooting guard for the Hornets, but he wouldn’t say who would get the nod. Austin Rivers hasn’t started a game since Jan. 2. Another option could be Roger Mason Jr., who is averaging 43 percent from the 3-point line. Gordon has given his team a nice boost since his return on Dec. 29. The Hornets have gone 6-2 in games he’s played in.
• Anthony Davis is averaging 13 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in his first NBA season. “I just like him,” Doc Rivers said. “Forget the basketball part. He’s had some great games and some up and down ones too. More up than down. But when I look at him I see something special. Not just his play but how he conducts himself. I just think he has it in him to be great. He’s had flashes obviously. He hasn’t had the dominant rookies year, but it’s there. I see that and I know [the Hornets] see that.”
• Rivers said Chris Wilcox (sprained right thumb) will dress for the game, but may not play. “He’s more available than the game the other night,” Rivers said. “I still don’t want to use him. We actually needed him the last game because of our foul trouble and I still didn’t use him.”
• Kevin Garnett has been getting plenty of time with the second unit, partly because Rivers thinks he’s an anchor and offers another guy who can dribble the ball. “Even at center, which sounds kind of crazy,” the coach said. Garnett has spent a few possessions playing the point on this homestand.
• The Hornets carry one of the NBA’s top transition offenses, and against the Celtics’ transition defense that ranks last in the league, it’s something to keep an eye on.