Friday January 16th, 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 its 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: James Harden, Rockets, +15.8

Harden torched his old team on Thursday to lead the Rockets to a 112-101 win over the Thunder. He scored 15 points in the first quarter en route to 31 for the game to go along with 10 assists, nine rebounds and a steal. The NBA's leading scorer, Harden is a frontrunner for MVP this season, as the Rockets are 28-12 and in fourth place in the Western Conference.

Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers, +29.5

James continued his stellar play since returning from knee and back injuries to carry the Cavaliers past the Lakers. After dropping 33 points against the Suns on Tuesday, he piled up 36 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals on Thursday. James' strong performance was magnified by his miniscule 23-point Basketball Throwdown projection. Until his projection is increased to its normal level, he is an obvious choice.

Center: Zaza Pachulia, Bucks, +14.3

Pachulia took advantage of a matchup with the hapless Knicks to put up a double-double in London. He finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in the victory. Pachulia isn't a big-name player, but he has had a pair of big games against the Knicks this season. When in doubt picking your lineup, choose a player who is facing the Knicks.

Today's picks

Guard: John Wall, Wizards vs. Nets, 7:00 p.m.

Wall's continued development this season into a full-fledged superstar has carried the Wizards to a 27-12 record. He is averaging 17.4 points and career-highs of 10.2 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 46.3 percent from the field. He has beaten his projection in three of his last five games and a matchup with the Nets shouldn't prove difficult for him to continue his strong play.

Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

James' projection is still a measly 23 points for Friday, which makes him a no-brainer choice.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz vs. Lakers, 9:00 p.m.

Gobert has beaten his projection in each of his last five games, averaging 31 points. He has been particularly effective in his last seven games, putting up 10.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 blocks. Gobert's 22-point projection against the Lakers is way too low and he should have no problem blowing past it tonight. 

- Paul Palladino

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