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.
Knight returned from a quad injury in the Bucks' overtime win over the Lakers. He flirted with a triple-double before finishing with 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. On the season, Knight is averaging 17.9 points, 5.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals. The Bucks are the No. 6 seed in the East with a 27-22 record, and Knight nearly made the All-Star team for his role leading the team.
Forward: Khris Middleton, Bucks, +24.9
In addition to Knight's strong game, the Bucks got another near triple-double from Middleton. He piled up 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The Bucks have won six straight and seven of their last eight as Middleton has averaged 17.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 steals on 60.0 percent shooting. Despite his recent play, Middleton's projection is a mere 21 points.
Whiteside continued his breakout season during Wednesday's loss to the Timberwolves. He made 12 of 13 shots en route to 24 points, 20 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 36 minutes. Whiteside has battled foul trouble during his stint with the Heat, but has only had three fouls in each of his last four games. He has averaged 14.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in his last 11 games.
With J.J. Redick expected to miss another game because of an injured back, Crawford should see extended minutes against the Cavaliers. He has beaten his projection in three of his last five games while averaging 17.0 points. Crawford is a volume shooter who benefits from field goal percentage not being included in Basketball Throwdown. He has shot just 34.2 percent in his last five games, but he certainly will keep firing on Thursday.
Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers vs. Clippers, 8:00 p.m.
James is always a good option and a matchup with the Clippers should allow him to have a big night on Thursday. The Clippers have no chance of matching up with James on the perimeter. While DeAndre Jordan can provide some resistance when James gets to the paint, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford won't be able to stop him from getting there. He has cooled slightly since a blistering return from injury last month, but he is still averaging 26.2 points, 7.4 assists and 5.5 rebounds.
While Jefferson's numbers are down significantly from last season, he has started to round into form lately following a groin injury. He has beaten his projection in three of his last five games while averaging 16.0 points and 10.4 rebounds. With Kemba Walker out of the lineup, Jefferson will need to take on a bigger role in Charlotte's offense if the Hornets are going to hold on to a playoff spot. They are currently the No. 7 seed with a one-game lead over the No. 9 seed Nets.
- Paul Palladino