Although TD Garden will never have the charm or the history of the old Boston Garden, it is still home to one of the most iconic playing surfaces in sports.
And prior to the Celtics’ season opener against the 76ers on Wednesday night, a bit of history was replaced by some new shine, as the team unveiled a new parquet floor, just the third in franchise history.
It is the first new floor since the team moved to TD Garden — then known as the FleetCenter — in 1995. Coach Brad Stevens quipped that his staff had a dunking contest before the game to flush out the dead spots.
“I’m excited about it,” Stevens said. “The floor looks great. We’re excited to kick it off.”
The Celtics’ floor is the only one in the NBA made of oak; the others are composed of maple. There are 264 panels, and two remain from the original floor. The parquet pattern was developed because of a wood shortage during World War II, as scraps were pieced together to create this accidentally historic look.
Rudolph “Spider” Edwards swept the floor during games for 33 years, starting in 1964, And on Wednesday, the Celtics brought back Edwards for a ceremonial sweep.
Nice ring to it
Forward David Lee said it was emotional watching on television Tuesday night as the Warriors received their rings and their NBA championship banner was unveiled. Lee was traded by the Warriors to the Celtics in July.
Lee briefly considered flying to Oakland for Tuesday’s ceremony but decided it would not be fair to his current team to come back to Boston on a game day after making two cross-country flights in 24 hours.
League MVP Stephen Curry acknowledged Lee during the festivities, and Lee was touched by the gesture.
“It doesn’t really sink in that you’ve won it until a little time afterward,” Lee said. “[Tuesday] night was just kind of a cool reminder of all we accomplished last year, as a franchise and as a team, and it’s really neat to see that. It was kind of, for me, putting a cap on that and finishing that part off of what happened last year, and now it’s sort of a fresh start, a new opportunity here, so it’s good to shift my focus.”
Lee got a glimpse of the rings but ended up doing a Google image search for a closer look.
“It looked pretty neat,” he said, “so I’m sure it’ll look even better in person.”
The 32-year-old forward started against the 76ers and said he gets the same butterflies on opening night as he did as a rookie.
Young, Hunter out
Second-year forward James Young and rookie guard R.J. Hunter (illness) were inactive for the Celtics. Also, forward Kelly Olynyk served his one-game suspension for yanking Cavaliers forward Kevin Love’s arm — dislocating his shoulder — in Game 4 of the teams’ playoff series last season.
Young said he was not discouraged by being on the inactive list. He said he would continue to focus on his defense.
“It just motivates me to keep working out and just keep getting better every day,” he said. “I’m a lot better than last year.”
The Celtics have a deep roster, and Stevens has said he is aware that there will be nights players are dissatisfied with playing time.
“I think that James obviously is in a position where we have four or five guys that are probably going to play a lot of minutes at the 1, 2, and 3,” Stevens said. “We still have Jonas [Jerebko] and Terry [Rozier], as well. So you’ve got really seven deep at those spots, and when you boil it down to the wing, probably even more. With Kelly also being out, having Jordan [Mickey] available is also a good thing.”
Young averaged 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds as a rookie.
Moment for Saunders
The Celtics held a moment of silence before the game for former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who died of cancer on Sunday. Saunders briefly served as an adviser for the Celtics late in the 2011-12 season.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.