Paul Palladino
Thursday April 2nd, 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: Chris Paul, Clippers, +38.5

One day after being crossed over by Stephen Curry, Paul rebounded with a huge night against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. He made 13 of his 21 shots en route to a season-high 41 points, 17 assists, five rebounds and four steals. The Clippers have won eight of their last nine games with Paul averaging 25.4 points, 11.6 assists and 2.2 steals on 53.4% shooting from the field and 44.0% on three pointers.

Forward: Terrence Jones, Rockets, +17.9

While his teammate James Harden scored a career-high 51 points, Jones also had a strong performance in his first game back from a partially collapsed lung. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and a steal. With Dwight Howard in and out of the lineup this season, Jones has emerged as a valuable rim protector for Houston.

Center: DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, +33.2

After reports that the Kings were considering shutting down Cousins for the season, he responded with a triple-double in Wednesday’s loss to the Rockets. He piled up 24 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, six blocks and three steals. Cousins has been the best center in fantasy basketball all season and is a good option whenever he is in the lineup.

Today’s picks

Guard: Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers vs. Heat, 8 p.m. ET

After beating his projection in just one of his last five games, Irving is due for a breakout game on Thursday against the Heat. With Lebron James’ former team coming to town, tonight’s game is a marquee matchup that should bring out the best in Irving. After a rocky start, Irving has developed good chemistry with James and is averaging 21.9 points and 5.2 assists while shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.6% on three pointers.

Forward: Chandler Parsons, Mavericks vs. Rockets, 8:30 p.m. ET

While the Mavericks have been struggling lately, Parsons has beaten his projection in four of his last five games, averaging 18.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 53.4% from the field. In three games against his former team, Parsons has averaged just 14.0 points, but is poised for a big game on Thursday.

Center: Dwight Howard, Rockets at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. ET

Howard is a good buy-low candidate because he has a mere 20-point projection. He has sat out the last two games as part of his return from knee surgery, but he is expected to play on Thursday. In his first three games back, Howard has averaged 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks while shooting 72.2% from the field. His minutes will increase down the stretch and he should return to form.

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