Wednesday December 10th, 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.

Tuesday's overachievers

Guard: Russell Westbrook, Thunder, +12.5

Westbrook continued his strong play since returning from a broken hand to lead the Thunder past the Bucks on Tuesday night. He piled up 28 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. A tip-slam over O.J. Mayo highlighted Westbrook's big game. After missing Westbrook and reigning MVP Kevin Durant for the early part of the season, the Thunder have won four of five since Westbrook returned and are just three games behind the Suns for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Forward: Chandler Parsons, Mavericks, +23.9

Parsons has come on strong this month in his first season with the Mavericks and scored a season-high 30 points while adding seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block on Tuesday night. In December, Parsons has upped his averages to 22.2 points, 6.0 assists and 2.4 assists. Although his shooting percentages are down from last season, he has maintained his averages while playing fewer minutes for the high-scoring Mavericks.

Center: Chris Bosh, Heat, +19.3

Bosh scored a season-high 34 points against the Suns on Tuesday to snap the Heat's four-game losing streak. He added nine rebounds, four steals and an assist while making 14 of 21 shots. With LeBron James' return to Cleveland, Bosh is now the focal point of the Heat's offense and his 21.9 point average is more than five points higher than last season. The Heat (10-11) have struggled early in the season, and Bosh will need to carry a heavy load for them to hold on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Today's picks

Guard: Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.

The 76ers are in the midst of what qualifies as a hot streak for them, having won two of their last three games. Carter-Williams has been the catalyst, averaging 18.7 points, 12.7 assists and 8.0 rebounds during the stretch. While the 76ers are severely overmatched most nights, someone has to accumulate stats and the reigning Rookie of the Year is the best candidate tonight against the Hawks. Basketball Throwdown gives 1.5 points for each assist, but Carter-Williams' assists should probably be worth more considering who he is passing the ball to.

Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs vs. Knicks, 8:30 p.m.

Fresh off winning the Finals MVP award, Leonard has continued his steady improvement during his fourth year in the league. He is averaging 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals for the 15-6 Spurs. He has been consistent during his last five games, surpassing his Basketball Throwdown projection four times. With the Knicks entering on a nine-game losing streak, Leonard shouldn't face much resistance tonight.

Center: Tyler Zeller, Celtics at Hornets, 7:00 p.m.

Zeller has started the Celtics' last six games, but his Basketball Throwdown projection hasn't increased to account for his additional playing time. Zeller has developed good chemistry with point guard Rajon Rondo and has averaged 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds since entering the starting lineup. A matchup against the struggling Hornets should allow Zeller to put up some big numbers on Wednesday.

- Paul Palladino

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