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Heat’s Jimmy Butler ready to play Lance Stephenson 1-on-1 ‘if that’s what he wants’

Jimmy Butler, Lance Stephenson

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler recently said he knew he could play in the NBA after seeing Lance Stephenson play.

Stephenson reacted to Butler’s comment by saying, “That boy look up to me, don’t downgrade talent. I motivate you to work hard and get in that gym. You love my game don’t be scared to say it.”

After the Heat’s morning shootaround on Tuesday, Butler said if Stephenson wants to play one-on-one to see who the better player is, he’s ready for it.

“I’m not worried about him,” Butler said, via Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. ‘They asked me a question, I answered the question. Take it for how you want to take it. If he wants a one-on-one battle, I’m all for it. I don’t think at this point, this is just me being honest, right now, me in my career, he in his, he’s not better than me. So, I’m willing to play one-on-one if that’s what, I don’t know, he wants to see, the world wants to see, whatever.

“I’m not intimidated by his tweet. I don’t think it was so much personal, that’s just how I thought back then. I don’t think the same way now, only because I know that I’m a better player.”

Stephenson is in China now after playing with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Butler, meanwhile, is the new leader of the Heat in the post-Dwyane Wade era.

Butler, after missing the first three games of the season due to the birth of his daughter, is averaging 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists on the season while shooting 38.9 percent from the field, 30.0 percent from beyond the arc and 65.0 percent from the free-throw line.

It would be fun to see Butler and Stephenson play one-on-one. The odds of it happening, though, are next to none.