Friday November 21st, 2014

Ready to show your friends you know more about the NBA than they do? FanNation's Basketball Throwdown fantasy basketball game is your best option. You pick a guard, forward and center who you think will exceed their fantasy projections. The scoring system takes into account points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers. The team that surpasses their projections by the most wins, so picking a lineup of Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Joakim Noah is no sure-fire path to victory. You can also bet anywhere from $1 to $500 on each night's matchup or play for free.

I'll give you my picks each day and a recap of yesterday's top performers so you can get bragging rights over your friends.

Sign up for tonight's Basketball Throwdown here.

Last night's overachievers

Guard: Darren Collison, Kings, +18.2

With Derrick Rose out of the lineup yet again with an injured hamstring, Collison exploited his matchup with Kirk Hinrich to the tune of 17 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, one steal and one block. After backing up Chris Paul last season with the Clippers, Collison has been a big part of Sacramento's surprising 7-5 start, averaging career highs of 15.6 points and 7.0 assists.

Forward: Blake Griffin, Clippers, +3.4

The Clippers blew out the Heat on Thursday night which prevented Griffin from piling up an even more impressive stat line. In just 30 minutes of action, Griffin had 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Clippers won their second straight game. The extra rest should prove helpful for Griffin as the Clippers play five more road games before returning home to start December.

Center: DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, +7.8

Cousins got the better of Bulls center Joakim Noah on Thursday night. While Noah played well and finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block, Cousins poured in 22 points with 14 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block to get the win. The only thing Cousins hasn't delivered this season is his goal to only get five technicals all season as he already has two.

Today's picks

Guard: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers vs Bulls, 8:00 p.m. ET

With Derrick Rose's status unclear for tonight's game, Lillard should have a field day against his replacements, Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks. The Bulls have fallen out of the top-10 in scoring defense, while the Blazers are among the best offensive teams in the league. Catching the Bulls on the second-half of a back-to-back on the road will also give Lillard's production a boost.

Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers at Wizards, 8:00 p.m. ET

Picking James is a risky proposition in the face of his 40-point projection, but he will look to redeem himself after a disappointing performance against the Spurs on Wednesday. Longtime foe Paul Pierce hasn't had the athleticism to slow James for several seasons. Cleveland needs a win to avoid falling below .500 on the season.

Center: Alex Len, Suns at 76ers, 7:00 p.m. ET

Len is the ultimate example of buying low based on a favorable matchup as he should see extended minutes against the winless 76ers. He is only projected for 16 points tonight, but he has surpassed that total in two of his last three games. He scored 19 points against Boston and 17 against the Clippers in the past week, flashing the potential that made him the No. 5 pick in the 2013 draft.

- Paul Palladino

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