Jimmy Butler

NBA postseason star power will shine a bit dimmer with Steph Curry gone…

but Joel Embiid & Jimmy Butler are here to fill the void.

Least or Beast of the East?

What Happened: The NBA playoffs lost some star power when the Warriors got unexpectedly bounced from the play-in tournament.

Tonight in the East, Trae Young will try to avoid the same fate as Steph Curry, while Jimmy Butler faces his old team.

Why It Matters: The first game of the night features the Heat and 76ers battling for spot no. 7 in the Eastern Conference. Courtesy of an eight-game win streak and the return of Joel Embiid to the lineup, the 76ers are 5.5-point favorites in this one.

For Miami, the question is simple: is Playoff Jimmy on the way? Star forward Jimmy Butler failed to score even 20 points in his final three regular season games. Is he merely saving up his energy for a run to the NBA Finals, à la last season, or are two Finals runs in four seasons taking their toll?

In the East’s no. 9 vs. no. 10 game, the Hawks and Bulls square off. Get excited, two sub-.500 teams! But the big names are there, as Trae Young will try to get his team back on track after missing 23 games across February, March, and April because of a hand injury.

DeMar DeRozan and Chicago are 3-point home favorites, but without Zach LaVine in the lineup, much of the scoring burden will fall on DeRozan. Whoever puts up more points between Young and DeRozan will buy his team one more shot at making the playoffs.

How We’re Feeling Today

Blake Griffin

Nostalgic upon the news that NBA superstar Blake Griffin is retiring.

Allow us some space to rant: the nerds have taken over in the NBA, and efficiency is king these days. That’s fine, we get it, winning above aesthetics.

Please though, let’s not forget how friggin cool an in-game dunk from Griffin was. His play was electric, his athleticism felt positively alien, and he turned half of the league into posters in his day.

Corner threes are well and good, but it’s tough to beat clips of Griffin throwing down a tomahawk dunk. We’ll always treasure those moments Blake.

The Look Ahead

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr. POINTS Oubre carries a line of 13.5 into tonight’s play-in game against the Heat. For the month of April (seven games), Oubre has averaged 18.9 points, including an 18-point performance against Miami on April 4. In four games vs. the Heat this season, the 76ers guard averaged 18.5 points, so we feel like this line might be too low.

DeMar DeRozan POINTS DeRozan has a high line tonight (29.5), but here’s our reasoning: the Bulls star has put up 30+ points in four straight games, and in five of his last six. The last time he faced Atlanta, he scored 31 points, and Chicago will need its main threat to show up or its season is kaput.

Jordan Kyrou SOG St. Louis’ center now has four SOG on three straight games, and has put 4+ SOG in seven of his last eight. Finally, in three games against Dallas this season, Kyrou’s shot totals are six, nine, and five, so his 3.5 line for tonight doesn’t look half bad.