BOSTON — Doc Rivers says his son just wants to play a lot of minutes at Duke. Whether he comes in off the bench doesn't really matter.
The Boston Celtics coach popped down to Durham, N.C., on Thursday night to take in the No. 4 Blue Devils' game against Wake Forest — and it was the first game all year that his son, Austin, didn't start.
"He doesn't really care. Honestly, he couldn't care less," Doc Rivers said before the Celtics' game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. "I was happy about that, to be honest. I was glad that he just said, 'I just want to play a lot of minutes.'"
The only freshman in the Atlantic Coast Conference who is averaging in double figures in scoring, the younger Rivers said he was taken out of the starting lineup because he wasn't working his hardest, and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called him on it.
But he came into Thursday's game about 2 minutes in, played a team-high 32 minutes and scored 20 points in Duke's 91-73 victory.
"I guess he came off the bench. He played 30-whatever minutes," Doc Rivers said. "He was in 2 minutes into the game. I don't think it's a long-term thing."
Austin Rivers said he apologized to his teammates and promised it wouldn't happen again.
"(I) realized that I need to mature in ways, and I didn't — I need to keep doing that moving forward," he told reporters.
Krzyzewski said he thinks too much importance is paid to who starts and who comes off the bench, adding that he was just looking at different combinations of players.
"He scored 20 points and played 32 minutes," Krzyzewski said. "Everybody should be benched like that."
Doc Rivers had considered walking away from his coaching job, in part to spend more time watching his children play sports. Instead, he tries to attend games on off-nights for the Celtics, who played Toronto on Wednesday and Phoenix on Friday.
The coach said he wasn't rushing down to his son's assistance.
"That was planned. I just wanted to go down," he said before the Raptors game. "Every game I think I can make — I hate that they play so many 9 (o'clock) games; I can't make those, but when they play a 7 o'clock game if it's in between (Celtics) games, I try to make those.'"
Besides, having his dad in the stands might not have been his son's first choice.
"What could I do? I'm not going to play," Doc Rivers said. "(Does it) help out by letting him see me? I think he'd rather not."