Thursday January 8th, 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.

Wednesday's overachievers

Guard: Klay Thompson, Warriors, +21.8

Thompson had a huge second half to lead the Warriors past the Pacers on Wednesday. He scored 27 of his 40 points after halftime and added four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in the victory. Thompson is scoring a career-high 21.6 points per game this season and has a good case to play in his first All-Star game next month in New York. The competition in the Western Conference is fierce, but Thompson should get a boost for playing for the first-place Warriors.

Forward: Greg Monroe, Pistons, +29.6

The Pistons won their seventh straight game since releasing Josh Smith and Monroe was the catalyst. He scored 27 points, matched a season-high with 18 rebounds, dished out six assists and blocked a shot to finish with 55.6 Basketball Throwdown points. Monroe's scoring has only increased slightly since Smith's departure, but he is grabbing nearly three more rebounds per game. Playing in a contract year, Monroe has the incentive for a big season and should see increased opportunities the rest of the season.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz, +23.8

Gobert has been a regular in this spot thanks to his low projections and earns the honor once again after recording a double-double in Wednesday's win over the Bulls. He had 11 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and two steals while starting in place of the injured Enes Kanter. In his last four games, he is averaging 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks, but his projection on Wednesday was just 16 points. Gobert will remain a good option even when Kanter returns.

Today's picks

Guard: Kyle Lowry, Raptors vs. Hornets, 7:30 p.m. ET

After a blazing start to the season, the Raptors lost their last three games on a west coast road trip and will look to bounce back Thursday against the Hornets. Lowry is setting career-highs in points (20.6 ppg), assists (7.6 apg) and field-goal percentage (44.9 percent) for the second-place Raptors. He has beaten his projection in four of his last five games and will need to bring his best against Hornets point guard Kemba Walker.

Forward: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. ET

Kidd-Gilchrist has stepped up his game since center Al Jefferson went down with a groin injury last month. He has beaten his projection in four of his last five games, averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. While his offense will likely never develop to justify his lofty draft position in 2012, his defense and hustle have been key in Charlotte's current three-game winning streak.

Center: Dwight Howard, Rockets at Knicks, 8:00 p.m. ET

With just three games on Thursday, there aren't many great options at center and Howard get the nod. He will certainly be able to have his way against the undermanned Knicks on Thursday, but will the game be close enough for Howard to put up big numbers? It actually could be as the Rockets are just 4-4 since signing Josh Smith. Howard is coming off a 17-point, 19-rebound game against the Cavaliers and will control the paint on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

- Paul Palladino

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