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Rip Hamilton isn’t showing his age

Hornets rookie AustRivers guards Richard Hamiltwho only had four points 2-for-10 shooting Saturday night. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Hornets rookie Austin Rivers guards Richard Hamilton, who only had four points on 2-for-10 shooting Saturday night. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: December 5, 2012 6:51AM

Richard Hamilton has been around long enough to know how it works.

He spent the 12 hours leading up to the game Saturday night against the New Orleans Hornets reading “Old Man River’’ text messages on his phone.

“Yeah, that was funny,’’ Hamilton, 34, said with a laugh.

During the third quarter of the 115-86 victory Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hamilton was in need of a jump-start, and a Cavs fan obliged, calling him “Old Man River’’ after Hamilton had scored only three points in the first half.

He broke out with 14 points in the quarter to teach the fan a lesson.

But that also meant Hamilton was going to hear it from friends and family, as well as from coach Tom Thibodeau.

Asked about the extra motivation Hamilton received Friday in Cleveland, Thibodeau said if reminding him of his age will lead to performances like that, he’s all for it.

“I just want Rip to continue to play the way he’s been playing,’’ Thibodeau said. “If we need to call him old, we’ll call him old every day.

“The thing that’s so good about the way he plays is that he makes the right play.

‘‘If he’s open, he shoots. If he’s guarded, he’ll make the play for someone else.

‘‘When you play unselfishly like that, it makes the whole team better.’’

Doc’s kid

Thibodeau was an assistant on the Boston Celtics’ coaching staff from 2007 to 2010 and was able to follow coach Doc Rivers’ son, Austin, who was drafted by the Hornets with the 10th pick in June.

Thibodeau said it was obvious Rivers was bound for the NBA even back then.

“He had a lot of confidence and poise, very comfortable being on the floor against pros, even when he was in high school,’’ Thibodeau said.

“I think he’s going to be a terrific player.’’

Home sweet home

The game against the Hornets was the first of a season-high five-game homestand over 10 days.

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