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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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Metta World Peace will miss the next seven games as he serves a suspension for elbowing James Harden in Sunday's game against the Thunder. Is the punishment World Peace received a fair one?


Fair punishment?

For the 13th time in his 13-year career, Metta World Peace will serve out a league suspension. Is this seven-game reprimand just?

SportsNation

What's your take on the seven-game suspension Metta World Peace received for elbowing James Harden?

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    52%
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    13%
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    35%

Discuss (Total votes: 203,597)

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Metta World Peace will miss the next seven games as he serves a suspension for elbowing James Harden in Sunday's game against the Thunder. Is playing without World Peace a big loss for the Lakers?

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Lost among the chaos that resulted from Metta World Peace's violent elbow of James Harden was the fact Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are neck-and-neck for the scoring title -- they're within four hundredths of a point of one another with only three games left between the two of them. To put it lightly, this is pretty important to (at the very least) Kobe, and we can't imagine that he'll go at anything less than 100 percent in his last game against the Kings. That being said, Durant may be more concerned about Harden's availability, as he's day-to-day with a concussion from World Peace's strike.


Who ends up on top?

The difference between Bryant and Durant's scoring averages this season is so slim that it could come down to a thousandth of a point.

SportsNation

Who will win the NBA's scoring title this season?

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    26%
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    74%

Discuss (Total votes: 68,592)


Last shot?

Bryant has been the go-to gunner at the end of games for a number of years, but the younger Durant could take that crown from him this year.

SportsNation

Who would you rather have taking the final shot in a game at this point in their careers?

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    67%
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    33%

Discuss (Total votes: 9,724)


Championship threats?

The Lakers beat the Thunder in their latest matchup, but it's anyone's guess as to how a theoretical playoff series would play out.

SportsNation

Which team would win on a neutral court in a seven-game playoff series?

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    32%
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    68%

Discuss (Total votes: 9,503)

Comment »

 

Lakers forward Metta World Peace was ejected from Sunday's game after landing an elbow to the head of Thunder guard James Harden during a post-dunk celebration. Is receiving a flagrant foul 2 and being sent to the locker room early the appropriate punishment, or is a suspension warranted?

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