Tuesday February 3rd, 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 out-performs its projections by the largest amount 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: Russell Westbrook, Thunder, +23.2

With Kevin Durant out of the lineup due to a toe injury, Westbrook recorded a triple-double to lead the Thunder to a win over the Magic. He piled up 25 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds, four steals and a block while making eight of 15 shots. Despite missing nearly a month early in the season with a broken hand, Westbrook is averaging a career-high 24.9 points, 7.6 assists, 6.1 rebounds and a league-leading 2.3 steals. The Thunder are three games behind the Suns for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will need more strong play from Westbrook.

Forward: Khris Middleton, Bucks, +22.3

Middleton carried the Bucks to an upset victory over the Raptors on Monday. He made 10 of 17 shots en route to 25 points, nine rebounds and three steals to more than double his 20-point projection. Middleton has been a key factor in Milwaukee's recent 5-1 stretch, averaging 17.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals. The Bucks are currently the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and will be a tough matchup in the playoffs. 

Center: Brook Lopez, Nets, +12.4

Lopez continued his recent strong play in Monday's victory over the Clippers. In his last three games, he has averaged 25.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while making 55.9 percent of his shots. The Nets have reportedly been shopping Lopez and he is a good candidate to be dealt before the deadline. With Brooklyn a game and a half out of the playoffs, Lopez will be critical to their playoff chances if they don't trade him.

Today's picks

Guard: D.J. Augustin, Pistons vs. Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET

Since replacing the injured Brandon Jennings in the starting lineup, Augustin has averaged 21.0 points, 8.3 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 50.9 percent from the field. Following a successful season with the Bulls last year, Augustin's strong play isn't a flash in the pan. The Pistons have climbed within three games of the final playoff spot in the East.

Forward: Robert Covington, 76ers vs Nuggets, 7:00 p.m. ET

In his second season, Covington has emerged as a jack of all trades for the 76ers. He has beaten his projection in five straight games while averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals. With the 76ers in the midst of another tanking project, Covington will get plenty of time to pile up stats against the Nuggets on Tuesday.

Center: Hassan Whiteside, Heat at Pistons, 7:30 p.m. ET

During Whiteside's recent standout play with the Heat, he has beaten his projection in four straight games while averaging 16.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks while shooting 58.0 percent. Whiteside will face a difficult matchup against Pistons center Andre Drummond, but he is still a good bet to beat his 22-point projection on Tuesday.

- Paul Palladino

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