BOSTON — The New Orleans Hornets, a young team starting to find its way, put an end to the Celtics’ six-game winning streak with an impressive 90-78 win over Boston Wednesday night.
The Hornets, who have suddenly won six of their last seven games, won for the second straight night on the road and also won the battle within the Rivers family, with rookie guard Austin Rivers coming out on top in his first game against his dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The younger Rivers, who shared a hug with his dad before the game, entered with 4:19 left in the first quarter and scored four points in 14:41 of playing time in the first half. He came back in the third quarter and, with mom and family looking on, scored his team’s last three points of the quarter. He made a late free throw, finishing with eight points in 22 minutes, his best game in a while.
The Hornets were down by 11 points in the first half, but took control of the game in the second half, putting it away with a late 12-0 run.
Al-Farouq Aminu scored 18 points and had nine rebounds, Robin Lopez scored 17 points and grabbed six boards and point guard Greivis Vasquez had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Anthony Davis, the first player taken in the 2012 NBA draft, had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Kevin Garnett led the Celtics, playing the fourth game of a season-high five-game homestand, with 15 points. Paul Pierce had 12 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out, and Rajon Rondo posted 11 assists as the Celtics missed a chance to go to a season-high four games over .500.
The Hornets were 7-25 before turning things around, and their spurt coincided with the return of guard Eric Gordon from injury. But Gordon was rested Wednesday night, so his 16.9 points and 3.9 assists per game were not available.
The Celtics used an 8-0 run to take a 21-10 lead with 3:07 left in the first quarter. It was a five-point lead after the first quarter, and the visitors ran off 11 straight points to take a 38-32 lead with 4:52 left in the half as the Celtics blew a double-digit lead for the fourth straight game. New Orleans led by a point at the break and then scored the first eight points of the second half.
The lead was 12 with 5:32 left in the third quarter before the Celtics started to move. Still, the Hornets didn’t fold.
NOTES: The younger Rivers came in averaging 15.3 minutes and 2.1 points while shooting 21.1 percent from the field in the previous 10 games. His eight January games were even worse. “Austin’s struggling right now,” said his dad. “He’s been up and down. But that’s part of being a rookie.” Said Austin: “It’s different in college or high school or overseas, wherever, where if you play one bad game you have three or four days or a week to prepare again. Here, you could have five games in a row in, like, seven days, and you don’t play well. That’s been the case in the last week and a half, two weeks. I haven’t played my best. It is what it is. It happens to the best of us. It happens to everybody, and right now it’s happening to me.” Austin of facing his dad: “This is a fun chance. I’m more excited to play against a playoff-caliber team, a Hall of Fame team, that’s why I’m just really excited to go out there and compete tonight, and just have fun in the game whether things are going well or not, and hopefully we will win.” … The Celtics end their homestand Friday night with a game against the Bulls, who are still without Derrick Rose, while the Hornets are home for Golden State Saturday night. … The Rivers duo became the fourth father-son combination where the father coached against the son. The others (coach first) were the Dunleavys (Mike and Mike Jr.), the Karls (George and Coby) and the van Breda Kolffs (Butch and Jan). … Boston’s Jason Terry’s scoreless game Monday night was his first since Apr. 8, 2011, but the last time he played more than eight minutes and went scoreless was Dec. 26, 2006, when he went 0-for-10 from the floor, 0-for-6 from 3-point range, in 22 minutes against Utah while Terry was playing for Dallas. By the way, Terry has nicknamed the Boston bench the “Gangster Squad” after the current movie.