Doc Rivers has known for years this night was coming, yet he is remarkably unprepared to coach against his son tonight at the Garden.

When rookie Austin Rivers gets into the game for the New Orleans Hornets, Doc's innards will be tugged in different directions. Suffice to say he's not looking forward to this particular Celtics game.

"I'm actually not," said Rivers, whose club will take a six-game win streak onto the parquet. "I still don't know how to feel about it.

"I've always thought he had a shot to be in the league, but I never thought about coaching against him. You don't ever think about that part. Then when he gets drafted you think, 'Wow, I'm going to go up against my son.' .?.?. Not literally. I'll be in a suit and tie, so I can't do anything.

"I'll be glad when the game's over. I can put it that way."

If Doc is worried about his players taking it easy on their boss' progeny, he shouldn't be.

"I don't care if he's Doc's kid," Jeff Green said. "Is he going to get mad at me? I mean, he wants us to stop him, right? If he comes into the lane, I'm going to hit him. Welcome to the NBA, kid."

Nor will Paul Pierce let up on Austin, the lad he got to know well at the Celtics practice facility through the years.

"No," said the Celts captain and 15-year veteran. "He was out to get me when he was a high school player, so I'm ready for him.

"There's going to be a lot of pressure on him. He's going to be very nervous, tense. That's a difficult situation, I guess. I couldn't imagine it."

But while the players won't be pulling their basketball punches, Rivers found yesterday's meeting with his coaches a bit odd.

"I just thought they were way too nice in the scouting report," he said. "But it's just a strange thing. It doesn't happen often, obviously."