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Garden Debut has New Vets Feeling Young Again

Marquis Daniels [1] is entering his seventh NBA season, and he can’t help but feel like it’s his first.

Daniels made his debut as a member of the Celtics [2] at the TD Garden on Friday night against the Knicks (recap here [3]) Even though Daniels had played in Boston several times, this game felt different.

‘€œI’m very excited. I told the guys the other day, I’m like, ‘I feel like a rookie,’ ‘€ Daniels said before the game. ‘€œI’m very excited to be playing here. I’ve played in here on the other team and I knew there’d be a big difference. The fans play a big role and they’re great.’€

Daniels was one of five Celtics [4] who played their first games on the parquet as a member of the home team. Rasheed Wallace [5], Michael Sweetney [6], Shelden Williams [7] and rookie Lester Hudson [8] also made their Celtics debuts.

‘€œComing here is just a great moment,’€ said Sweetney, who had not played in the NBA since the 2006-07 season. ‘€œComing in the building was like, wow. But coming into this locker room and the history and just being on this team is just amazing.’€

Newcomers such as Williams point to the Celtics’ deep tradition as something they have never experienced in the NBA. Williams has played for the Hawks, Timberwolves [9] and Kings over the course of his career.

‘€œIt’s a great feeling,’€ he said. ‘€œI know it’s not the same gym as the Boston Garden, but there’s still a lot of history here and in the city wearing green. It’s still a great feeling to be part of history.’€

With the titles and electricity of the TD Garden come high expectations for the upcoming season.

‘€œI’ve never been on a team at the beginning of the season and everybody says, ‘We’re going to make the playoffs,’ ‘€ Sweetney said. ‘€œBut this team has won championships, so it’s a different feeling surrounding it.’€

This has Daniels looking forward to the feeling he has wearing a Celtics uniform.

‘€œ[The difference with the Celtics is] just knowing that we have a chance to be real special and we have a chance to do great things,’€ he said. ‘€œThere are a lot of great, hard-working guys, great veterans, great franchise, coaches and everything. It’s going to be a great situation.’€