BOSTON My, oh my, how fast kids seem to grow up these days.
That had to be one of the many thoughts that raced through Kevin Garnett's mind on Wednesday night while watching Austin Rivers zig and zag his way on the floor for the New Orleans Hornets who defeated the C's 90-78.
Austin, the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, had eight points off the bench while playing 22 minutes.
Considering how Austin has played of late, Wednesday's game was indeed a breakout-type performance for him.
For Garnett, what folks are seeing now is just the beginning.
Well before he became a top-10 pick, Garnett and fellow Hall of Famer-to-be Paul Pierce were singing the praises of the younger Rivers.
It had nothing to do with him being the head coach's son and everything to do with this: The kid can really play.
Still, that didn't completely take away from the surreal feeling that presided over Garnett and Pierce as they faced the youngster for the first time in an NBA game.
"I see a kid who is going to grow and grow as he continues to develop," said Pierce, who had his share of one-on-one games with Austin when the younger Rivers was in high school. "He plays with tremendous confidence. He has a bright future as long as he continues to work hard."
Pierce is well aware Austin has had a few bumps along the way during this rookie season, resulting in his playing time being significantly reduced.
But that hasn't done a thing to sway Pierce's confidence and belief that Austin Rivers will at some point become a consistent high-impact player.
"He's had his ups and downs as a rookie, which a lot of rookies do," Pierce said. "But he'll eventually find his niche and be a player in this league."
For Garnett, seeing Austin on the floor was yet another reminder of how Father Time is always at work.
"If you didn't feel old, you feel old now," quipped Garnett, 36. "Seeing a little kid who used to say absolutely nothing and dribble his ball and kind of be in his own little world to being a young man now in the league, trying to make something of himself and doing a good job of it, talking trash, running up and down, leading his team. It's good to see Austin doing real good."
It goes without saying how deep Garnett's competitive juices flow.
If you're unsure, look no further than the icy-cold treatment he gave former Celtic Ray Allen in the first Celtic-Heat matchup this season.
And as tough as Wednesday's game might have been for Austin's dad emotionally, it presented a challenge of sorts for Garnett as well.
"I'm rooting for him, obviously, when he's away from here," Garnett said. "But Wednesday night, yeah, I'll admit it. It was a little odd. But he's family. We all hit the floor, we all trying to win. But, yeah, it was odd."