Tuesday December 9th, 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.

Monday's overachievers

GuardEric Bledsoe, Suns, +36.2

Playing against his former team on Monday night, Bledsoe had a triple-double in an overtime loss to the Clippers. He scored 27 points, handed out 16 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds while adding two steals and two blocks for a monster 67.2-point performance. Unfortunately for the Suns, Bledsoe's standout performance was matched by Blake Griffin's 45-point night, capped off with the game-winning three-pointer. With Isaiah Thomas still out of the lineup, Bledsoe and Goran Dragic have flourished in extended minutes and are both good choices moving forward.

ForwardEvan Turner, Celtics, +23.2

In Monday's double-overtime loss to the Wizards, Turner played a season-high 39 minutes and responded with 18 points, eight assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block for the Celtics. While he is only playing 22.8 minutes per game, Turner is still talented enough to fill a box score, albeit on an inconsistent basis. With Turner and the rest of the bench playing well on Monday, coach Brad Stevens gave several of them more minutes than the starters.

CenterKelly Olynyk, Celtics, +18.7

Olynyk has lost his starting spot to Tyler Zeller, but he broke out of a recent slump with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and a block. Following a solid start to the season, Olynyk's rebounding numbers plummeted and so did his playing time so he will need to keep crashing the boards to receive more playing time. Despite their 7-12 record, the Celtics have been a competitive team in their second season under Stevens, and Olynyk figures to be a key part of the team's future.

Today's picks

GuardGoran Dragic, Suns vs. Heat, 9:00 p.m. ET

Dragic and his backcourt mate Bledsoe have been scorching lately and should continue their hot play on Tuesday against the Heat. Dragic has cooled down slightly over his last two games, but has beaten his projection four times in his last five games. During this stretch, his numbers have risen above his performance last season that earned him a spot on the All-NBA Third Team. With the Heat entering the game on a four-game losing streak, Dragic and the Suns will look to improve on their 6-3 record against the Eastern Conference.

ForwardKevin Durant, Thunder vs. Bucks, 8:00 p.m. ET

Three games into his return from foot surgery, Durant is quickly rounding into form. He had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists against the Pistons on Sunday in just 29 minutes of action. As coach Scott Brooks slowly increases his playing time, Durant will be able to take advantage of his low 33-point projection. In their first season under Jason Kidd, the Bucks are much improved from last season so they should be able to keep the game close and push Brooks to give Durant more minutes.

CenterMarc Gasol, Grizzlies vs. Mavericks, 8:00 p.m. ET

Despite being diagnosed with a bone bruise last week, Gasol has continued his strong play to start the season. He had a huge 28-point, 12-rebound, four-block, two assist performance against the Spurs on Friday after being listed as questionable. He didn't need to bring his A-game on Sunday against the Heat, but a divisional matchup against the Mavericks should bring out the best in Gasol. It will be a matchup of opposing styles as Memphis' league best scoring defense takes on Dallas' No. 1 ranked offense.

- Paul Palladino

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