Tuesday December 23rd, 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

GuardJimmy Butler, Bulls, +25.2

Butler teamed with Derrick Rose to lead the Bulls past the first-place Raptors on Monday night. While Rose scored 29 points, Butler added 27 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and a steal as the Bulls scored 49 points in the fourth quarter to come away with a 129-120 win. Butler leads the league in minutes per game at more than 40 and is scoring a career-high 22.1 points per game this season, a nine point improvement from last season. The 25-year-old is a lock be an All-Star and it is hard to believe he slipped to pick No. 30 in the 2011 draft.

Forward: Omri Casspi, Kings, +16.1

The Kings were blownout on the road by Warriors, but Casspi had a standout game nonetheless. He more than doubled his 15-point projection by piling up 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a block. Casspi has just about abandoned the three-point shot altogether and is shooting a career-high 55.4 percent from the field. While his play has been improved this season, his sporadic playing time makes him a big gamble in Basketball Throwdown despite his low projections.

CenterMarc Gasol, Grizzlies, +10.1

Following a 21-4 start to the season, the Grizzlies have lost three in a row, including Monday's game against the Jazz despite Gasol's best effort. He had 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the loss as the Grizzlies played without Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. Gasol, who turns 30 next month, is scoring a career-high 19.9 points per game and has been the catalyst for Memphis' success on both ends of the floor this season.

Today's picks

GuardDennis Schroder, Hawks vs. Clippers, 7:30 p.m. ET

With Jeff Teague not expected to play with a hamstring injury, Schroder should get this fourth straight start on Tuesday. In the three games he has started for Teague, he is averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in wins over the Cavaliers, Rockets and Mavericks. He has beaten his projection in each of his last three games and is slated for a measly 18 points tonight. Schroder has been a key part of Atlanta's improvement this season as the Hawks are the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference at 20-7.

ForwardKevin Love, Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves, 7:00 p.m. ET

Love plays his former team for the first time on Tuesday and should have his way against the Timberwolves frontline. Love certainly heard Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders say that Minnesota fans won't forgive Love for turning his back on them. While Love has only beaten his projection once in his last five games, a matchup with Minnesota should bring out the best in him on Tuesday.

CenterMason Plumlee, Nets vs. Nuggets, 7:30 p.m. ET

Plumlee has been a fixture in this spot for the past few weeks as he is starting in place of the injured Brook Lopez. Since moving into the starting five, he is averaging 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. Despite surpassing 31 points in each of his last five games, his projection is still just 17 points tonight. If you want to win, start Plumlee.

- Paul Palladino

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