The younger Rivers got a big cheer from the opposing crowd when he checked into the game with 4:19 left in the first half. Doc Rivers leaned back to say something to the assistant coaches sitting behind him and cracked a brief smile.
Austin Rivers spent much of his first stint on the court staking out a position on the right side, which placed him in front of the Celtics' bench; there was no interaction with his father's team. With about a minute left in the first quarter, he muscled a hook shot in for a basket, but his father had no reaction.
"I'm sure he hadn't slept in about three or four days," Williams said. "That's a tough one: playing against your dad, your mom's in the house, I'm screaming at him — and he goes out there and keeps his poise. I don't understand that kind of pressure."
The Celtics opened a 21-10 lead but then allowed six straight points, including a drive by Rivers. The Hornets scored 11 consecutive points midway through the second quarter to turn a five-point deficit into a 38-32 lead; they led by one at halftime, then scored the first eight points of the third quarter to make it 52-43.
It was 61-49 when Pierce made a turnaround jumper and, after Rondo swiped Vasquez's bad pass, Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer. Jeff Green blocked Ryan Anderson, and Terry made a short jumper; Terry had another 3 and, later in the quarter, a steal to set up Pierce for a jumper in the final seconds that made it 67-63.
But the Celtics kept missing shots, failing to score from the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter until 2:04 remained in the game. By then, the Hornets had turned a four-point lead into an 87-71 advantage. Boston shot 7 for 23 in the fourth quarter.
Notes: The Hornets opened the game 3 for 13 from the floor and missed all five of their 3-point attempts in the first period. New Orleans also committed six turnovers in the first, yet trailed just 25-20 after one. ... Celtics F Chris Wilcox did not play for the second straight game. Doc Rivers said he was available. ... Garnett passed Patrick Ewing and moved into 16th place on the NBA's career scoring list.