DeMar DeRozan

Should you worry about injuries affecting NBA stars? Yes.

Should you be sweating Caitlin Clark’s financial future? Not so much.

Two NBA Playoffs Spots Remain

What Happened: Four teams, two playoff spots, and two massive injuries to take into account.

The NBA playoff picture will crystallize tonight, but with a couple of superstars out of action, it’ll be tough to get a read on who has the upper hand here.

Why It Matters: Miami has one last chance to sew up a playoff spot in the East, although its loss to Philly in the 7th vs. 8th game might’ve been its best chance. Now, the Heat are without Jimmy Butler (out with a MCL injury) and find themselves 1.5-2.0 point favorites despite being the home team. For a team that scored at the NBA’s fifth-worst rate, losing its leading scorer by average feels potentially catastrophic, but we’ve seen Erik Spoelstra work magic in the past.

Zion Williamson (hamstring) is the big name missing in the West’s matchup between the Pelicans and Kings. Sportsbooks see this as a major factor, to the point that the ninth-place Kings are now favorites on the road. Sacramento played 18 games as road favorites in the regular season and covered in 10 of them; New Orleans was 6-5 ATS as a home dog.

How We’re Feeling Today

Vindication, although not for ourselves. For Caitlin Clark.

When the former Iowa star was drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever, her contract became a major talking point. Some mocked Clark’s $76k a year salary, bleating that she should’ve stayed in college for the NIL money or some such nonsense.

Now, word arrives that Clark is securing a deal with Nike that will earn her her own signature shoe and a $20 million bag.

The wannabe financial advisors have suddenly gone quiet, but we’re sure they’ll find a new reason to bitch and moan about Clark soon. Just know that when they do, whatever is in their Robinhood account is what Clark now considers a rounding error.

The Look Ahead

Jaime Jaquez Jr. POINTS With Jimmy Butler out, someone is gonna have to score for Miami. While that burden will fall more on Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, Jaquez will need to step up if the Heat plan to escape the play-in tournament. JJJ’s line tonight is 13.5; it’s a line he got over in the last two games of the regular season, and against Philly in the 7th. vs. 8th. seed play-in game on Wednesday. Jaquez averaged 16.3 PPG in four games against the Bulls this season, and with an increased role tonight, we like his chances.

Brandon Ingram POINTS You could basically copy and paste the above, just replace Butler with Zion Williamson and Jaquez with Ingram. The Pelicans forward is still working back from a knee injury and pretty clearly isn’t 100%. But New Orleans will be leaning on him more, and we’ve seen him excel as a top scoring option for the Pels in the past. If Ingram can’t top his 19.5 line for tonight, it’s unlikely his team will move on.