5 Burning Questions for Miami Heat-LA Lakers Showdown

This isn't your typical post-New Year's matchup of the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference and the 11th-placed team out West.

When the Miami Heat travel to Staples Center for Thursday night's nationally-televised showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers, both teams will hope to answer some of the burning questions surrounding the teams.

The Lakers have been a far cry from the offseason's crowned champions of the Western Conference, but a recent two-game winning streak has given a pulse back to their playoff hopes.

Miami, meanwhile, had dropped three of its past four games, before Wednesday night's 92-75 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Heat star LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points in his career during the contest.

Both teams are flawed but may collectively hold the two most talented rosters in the league.

Thursday night's game may shed some light on the direction these clubs are headed.

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