8 a.m. ET: Go ahead and try to figure out these Celtics, because all our attempts thus far have failed. They head to Cleveland on a three-game losing streak, and not even the dire situation in which the Cavaliers find themselves is enough to convince us that the Celtics will take care of business.
The Cavs (10-32) are reeling from Monday’s news that center Anderson Varejao, who was having a career year, is done for the season. As though losing four of their last five games was not bad enough, the Cavs must now move forward without their leading rebounder and frontcourt scorer. Kyrie Irving and rookie Dion Waiters will have to carry the Cavs on both ends of the floor, and that presents a challenge for the Celtics (20-20). Boston has struggled to keep up with teams that boast two capable backcourt scorers, having already lost three of their four meetings with the Bucks. The Cavs could present some intriguing problems.
If Avery Bradley continues to battle pain in his ribs — he started Sunday’s game in Detroit but played only 19 minutes — Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will need to be in top form. This will be the Celtics’ first chance to show coach Doc Rivers that they heard his disgusted message on Sunday, and that drastic changes to the roster are not necessary.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 7 p.m. ET.