AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds
Austin Rivers hits the winning 3-pointer vs. UNC.BOSTON -- While Thursday's loss to the rival Los Angeles Lakers was hardly an enjoyable experience for Celtics coach Doc Rivers, he was absolutely glowing before the game after watching his son, Austin, hit a winning 3-pointer to lift Duke past the University of North Carolina Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.
In fact, it's already among some of Rivers' favorite sports memories.
"As a fan, it’s at the top," he said. "Usually I’m in fray. Just as a fan? It’s the best. Again, it’s a different emotion. It’s just a lot of fun...
"As a parent, it’s just fun. You see your kid play and do well, that’s always a ball. And you don’t have to worry about calling the timeout or anything else. You can just be emotional and have fun."
Rivers who typically does a solid job of keeping his emotions in check, whether he's on the sideline coaching the Celtics or in the stands watching his kids play, couldn't help but get swept up in the moment, grabbing his daughter, Callie, and celebrating after Austin's big moment at the buzzer.
"Listen, I was just nervous; I’m a parent," said Rivers. "I was just thinking, ‘I don’t care what you do, just do it well.’ And I was pretty sure after about the five-second mark, he was shooting the 3. I didn’t know if it was going to go in or not, but it was pretty clear what he was going to do."
Despite the NBA's game-heavy season, Rivers has done his best to escape on offdays to catch Austin's games (much like he's done in the past for Callie's volleyballl matches or the hoops action of his other sons, Jeremiah and Spencer). Is getting away from it all therapeutic for Rivers?
"I don’t know if it’s therapy, because you’re insane at the games," Rivers said with a laugh. "But it has been good therapy for me over the years -- since I’ve been here, I’ve been doing it. I get to see all the kids. There’s good moments like you guys got to see [Wednesday] night. But there’s bad moments at times, too, when kids struggle. There’s highs and lows like a normal parent. [Wednesday] was a good one and that’s a good thing."
In some small way, it might even help ease the pain when the Celtics lose their own rivalry game. Heck, even Kobe Bryant liked what he saw out of Austin Rivers.
"I told [Doc] his son got some big cojones," said Bryant. "He should be very proud."