Tuesday January 6th, 2015

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

Guard: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers, +20.7

Lillard carried the Trail Blazers to a win over the Lakers on Monday in Portland. He scored 39 points on 12-for-21 shooting and added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block with just one turnover. Lillard has been red-hot for the past 13 games, averaging 26.4 points, 6.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 42.4 percent on three-pointers. He has led Portland to a 27-8 record, good for second place in the Western Conference.

Forward: Quincy Acy, Knicks, +23.3

With Monday's trade of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers, the Knicks moved into full-fledged tanking mode. They also waived center Samuel Dalembert, opening additional minutes in New York's frontcourt. Acy took advantage of the opportunity and piled up 19 points, 14 rebounds, one assist and one steal en route to a 38.3-point night. The Knicks will rival the 76ers for the worst record in the league this season, but somebody still has to put up stats for the Knicks. If Acy's projections remain low, he is a good sleeper pick in Basketball Throwdown.

Center: Brook Lopez, Nets, +22.6

Lopez has been extremely effective in limited playing time since returning from a back injury last month. He continued his resurgence during Monday's loss to the Mavericks. He had 22 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and a steal in 33 minutes of action. He has played well in his last five games, averaging 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 59.2 percent from the field. The Nets are currently the No. 7 seed in the East and could pass Milwaukee if Lopez can stay healthy.

Today's picks

Guard: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Suns at Bucks, 8:00 p.m.

Antetokounmpo has been hit or miss during his last five games. In the three games that he beat his projection, he has surpassed 35 points each time. His lows, however, have been extreme, as he managed just 16.8 and 11 points against the Pacers and Hawks recently. A matchup with the uptempo Suns should allow Antetokounmpo to break out. At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo is already the tallest "guard" in the league and that advantage will be heightened to another degree against a small Phoenix backcourt. 

Forward: Markieff Morris, Suns at Bucks

With only two games on Tuesday, it is slim pickings at the forward position, but Morris gets the nod. He has only beaten his projection once in his last five games and has seemingly forgotten how to rebound, averaging just 4.4 boards. The Bucks have a bevy of long and athletic players, but are down a man with Larry Sanders' absence. Morris will need to control the pain for the Suns to get a win.

Center: Andre Drummond, Pistons at Spurs, 8:30 p.m.

Drummond has beaten his projection in all five games since Josh Smith was released and the other centers playing tonight are inconsistent. During Detroit's five-game winning streak, he is averaging 15.0 points, 15.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.8 steals while shooting 62.7 percent from the field. Drummond is the lone cornerstone on Stan Van Gundy's roster and should continue his strong play on Tuesday against the Spurs.

- Paul Palladino

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