Paul Palladino
Friday February 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 out-performs its projections by the largest amount wins, so picking a lineup of Stephen Curry, LeBron Jamesand 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.

Thursday's overachievers

Guard: Gerald Henderson, Hornets, +20.3

Despite Kemba Walker being out of the lineup, Henderson carried the Hornets to a 94-87 win over the Wizards on Thursday. He made 10 of 15 shots en route to 27 points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist. While his stats are down significantly from last season, Henderson has played better since late December, averaging 15.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his last 18 games. If Henderson can improve on his 27.8 percent mark on three pointers, he can be a valuable fantasy option.

Forward: Nicolas Batum, Trail Blazers, +10.3

Batum has endured a miserable shooting season, but had a strong game in Thursday's win over the Phoenix Suns. He finished with 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds and a steal while making six of 13 shots. On the season, he is shooting just 38.4 percent from the field and 28.0 percent on three pointers while scoring just 9.2 points. With Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way, the Trail Blazers are championship contenders, but they will need Batum to find his old form in time for the playoffs.

Center: Robin Lopez, Trail Blazers, +9.4

Lopez hasn't missed a beat in his first two games back from a broken hand and had a double-double against the Suns on Thursday. He had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as the Trail Blazers dominated the Suns. After losing eight of its previous 10, Portland has won both of its games since Lopez returned to the lineup.

Today's picks

Guard: Stephen Curry, Warriors at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.

Coming off a 51-point night against the Mavericks on Wednesday, Curry should still have the hot hand for Friday's game against the Hawks. He has beaten his projection in four of his last five games while averaging 30.4 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals. A road game against the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference will require Curry to have a big night for the Warriors to win their 40th game of the season.

Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs vs. Heat, 9:30 p.m.

Leonard has been instrumental in the Spurs' recent surge since he returned from a hand injury. He has averaged 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.2 steals as the Spurs have won seven of their last nine games. With the entire team finally healthy, the Spurs are poised to climb up the Western Conference standings in the second half of the season. They are only three games out of the No. 3 seed and will need Leonard to play well to makeup ground.

Center: John Henson, Bucks at Rockets, 8:00 p.m.

Henson has struggled to earn playing time under new head coach Jason Kidd this season, but he has capitalized on a recent increase in minutes. He has beaten his projection in seven straight games while averaging 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The Bucks have won six of their last seven since Henson found his groove. With a measly 16-point projection against the Rockets, Henson is a sure bet to beat his projection for an eighth game in a row.

- Paul Palladino

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