Friday February 20th, 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.

Thursday's overachievers

Guard: Tony Parker, Spurs, +23.1

Fresh off the All-Star break, Parker had a double-double in Thursday's loss to the Clippers. He made eight of 17 shots en route to 21 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Parker has been battling a hamstring injury and is averaging 14.7 points, 5.0 assists and 1.9 rebounds. The Spurs stood pat at the trade deadline and will need a healthy Parker to move up from the No. 7 seed.

Forward: Serge Ibaka, Thunder, +16.4

Ibaka carried the Thunder to a win over the Mavericks on Thursday, finishing with 21 points and 15 rebounds. With Steven Adams out of the lineup and Kendrick Perkins traded to the Jazz, Ibaka was the team's lone big man. His statistics are down from last season to 13.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 46.3 percent shooting. The Thunder pulled even with the Suns for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and Ibaka will be getting a new frontcourt partner in Enes Kanter.

Center: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers, +25.6

Jordan piled up big stats in Thursday's win over the Spurs despite having a miserable performance at the free-throw line. He finished with 26 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and a block. The Spurs used a hack-a-Shaq strategy against Jordan, and he made just 10 of 28 foul shots. While Blake Griffin is out of the lineup with an elbow injury, Jordan will have to carry a bigger load on both ends for the Clippers.

Today's picks

Guard: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks vs. Nuggets, 8:30 p.m. ET

Antetokounmpo beat his projection in eight straight games leading up to the All-Star break, and he should continue his hot play against the Nuggets on Friday. The trade of Brandon Knight to the Suns will open up a larger role for Antetokounmpo tonight before Michael Carter-Williams joins the team. While he disappointed in the Slam Dunk Contest, Antetokounmpo has shown All-Star potential this season.

Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers at Wizards, 8 p.m. ET

Although Russell Westbrook won the MVP award in the All-Star Game, James also had a terrific game with 30 points and seven assists. The Cavaliers won 13 of their last 15 games before the All-Star break with James averaging 26.9 points, 6.8 assists and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 48.3 from the field. The Cavaliers have surged to the No. 5 seed in the East and will look to overtake the Wizards for the No. 4 seed tonight.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz, 9 p.m. ET

Gobert's breakout season slowed down a bit before the All-Star break, but his role will only expand moving forward after the team traded Enes Kanter. Since the beginning of the year, he has averaged 8.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 26.9 minutes per game. Gobert's emergence made trading the unhappy Kanter easier for the Jazz to stomach.

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