Legler: Tonight a barometer for C's, Mavs

ESPN NBA analyst looks ahead to tonight's game at TD Garden (on ESPN, ESPN3.com at 8 ET) between the Celtics (4-4) and defending champion Mavericks (5-5), a pair of veteran-laden elite teams that have struggled out of the gate:

"A disappointing beginning, really, for both teams this season," Legler says. "This is an important game. When you get an elite team coming into your building early in the season and you've been struggling yourself, it's a perfect time to try to get a win and establish momentum. You feel pretty good about yourself when you beat one of the big boys on the block.

"Both of these teams have had some pretty dramatic changes to their rosters. Dallas is still overcoming emotionally losing some of those guys in the locker room that were very popular: Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler all gone. The dynamic has changed with that team.

"When you look at Boston, this is probably the smallest team they've had since Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce got together. They went small because they're trying to match up with Miami down the road and play faster. They're a team that really has not fired on all cylinders offensively as of yet.

"Neither team is playing great basketball. This game is an important barometer early in the season to try to turn things around and see exactly where you stand."