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When ESPN.com's panel of experts ranked the top players in the NBA over the summer, the Heat and Lakers combined for seven of the top 19 spots. The two teams meet tonight for the first time this season, putting a combined 70 All-Star appearances and six MVP awards on the court. But how do the teams' star players stack up? Click on the images to submit your rankings. You must rank at least five for your vote to count.

All stats through Jan. 16, 2013

Best players among Heat, Lakers

Ray Allen

Ray Allen

10-time All-Star
2012-13: 11.3 PPG, 43.4% 3-pt FG

Shane Battier

Shane Battier

2012-13: 8.4 PPG, 38.3% 3-pt FG

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh

7-time All-Star
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

14-time All-Star
2012-13: 29.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.8 APG

Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers

2012-13: 7.9 PPG, 40.8% 3-pt FG

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

4-time All-Star
2012-13: 12.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

6-time All-Star
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.6 BPG

LeBron James

LeBron James

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 26.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.9 APG

Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison

2-time All-Star
2012-13: 7.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG

Steve Nash

Steve Nash

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 10.5 PPG, 8.9 APG

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 19.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.4 APG

Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

1-time All-Star
2012-13: 13.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG

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On Wednesday, "First Take" debated who should get the most credit for the Heat's Game 4 win over the Thunder. Skip Bayless decided to give the slightest bit of an advantage to LeBron James, marking him down for 30 percent of the credit, while Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers each received 25 percent. Stephen A. Smith was so impressed with LeBron that he gave him three-quarters of the credit. What's your take?

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The list of teams that have come back to win their series after going down 3-1 in the NBA finals is short. Actually, it's nonexistent. That's probably not what the Thunder want to be thinking about after losing Game 4, especially considering the awkward fashion in which they fumbled the game away. Russell Westbrook had a costly and bizarre foul after an otherwise stellar performance, James Harden was a non-factor, and Kevin Durant started looking an awful lot like a guy who can only score. There's a first time for everything, but history is against the Thunder as they gear up for Game 5.


Westbrook's night?

Russell Westbrook was unstoppable for most of the game, but seemed to think that the shot-clock had reset when he fouled Mario Chalmers with only seconds remaining.

SportsNation

What do you make of Russell Westbrook's performance in Game 4?

  •  
    64%
  •  
    36%

Discuss (Total votes: 41,596)


Harden a factor?

James Harden was supposed to be the Thunder's secret weapon in these playoffs, but last night, he managed a mere eight points in 37 minutes.

SportsNation

Whom do you blame most for the Thunder's loss in Game 4?

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    38%
  •  
    62%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,925)


LeBron's injury?

LeBron James seemed to be hurting after a hard fall late in the fourth quarter, but the Heat may have just been careful with their superstar.

SportsNation

What is your take on LeBron James sitting out the final 55 seconds of Game 4?

  •  
    46%
  •  
    54%

Discuss (Total votes: 54,875)


Fans upset?

Thunder fans will no doubt not be happy if their team loses, especially in this fashion, but we know another fanbase that does not want to see LeBron James win a title.

SportsNation

Which group of fans will be more upset if the Heat win these Finals?

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    53%
  •  
    47%

Discuss (Total votes: 42,629)

Comment »


The Heat-Pacers series is the first conference semifinals matchup to be set in this season's NBA playoffs, but it wasn't supposed to be this way. Consensus had the Heat advancing out of the first round against pretty much any opponent, but the Magic were all set to rely on Dwight Howard to get them into the semis -- at least, until an awful lot of late-season drama and a year-ending injury sent Orlando against Indiana without its superstar. The Pacers will be facing a much tougher opponent, but can they pull it off?


Heat or Pacers?

The Pacers weren't the only team to advance to the second round against an injured team; the Heat faced a severely depleted Knicks team in the first round.

SportsNation

Which team will win the Heat-Pacers series?

  •  
    40%
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    38%
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    3%
  •  
    19%

Discuss (Total votes: 5,002)


Better bench?

The Heat have had questions about their bench since the news conference introducing their Big Three.

SportsNation

Which team has the better bench?

  •  
    28%
  •  
    72%

Discuss (Total votes: 38,751)


Spoelstra or Vogel?

Frank Vogel has had a fair amount of success in his short coaching career, but Erik Spoelstra might have the tougher job, what with managing egos and the media in addition to his in-game duties.

SportsNation

Which head coach would you rather have on your sideline?

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    41%
  •  
    59%

Discuss (Total votes: 37,224)


LeBron or Wade?

LeBron James' closing credentials have been called into question, although it was Dwyane Wade who missed a last-second shot in the series against the Knicks.

SportsNation

Which player would you rather have taking the last shot to win a game?

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    42%
  •  
    58%

Discuss (Total votes: 37,600)

Comment »