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NBA - US Sports: Butler relishing Tatum battles

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler is looking forward to taking on Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The two teams meet for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series in Miami on Tuesday and the Heat can be backed at 4/5 to win in the Money Line, while Boston are priced at 21/20.

Celtics hitting their stride

The Celtics overcame defending champions Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the previous round thanks in part to some huge performances from Tatum. 

The All-Star forward managed 46 points in the Game 6 win over the Bucks and is averaging 28.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists-per-game in the playoffs this season.

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Stern test ahead

Butler expects a stern test in the Conference Finals series but the Heat swingman is relishing the prospect of coming up against Tatum as Miami battle for a place in the NBA Finals.

"We're looking forward to it. I guess you got to beat the best to be the best," said Butler on facing Boston, via ESPN.

He added: "He's [Tatum] one of the best in the game right now. As much attention as he draws on the offensive end - and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity.

"You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

Butler is leading Miami's charge as he is averaging a playoff career-high of 28.7 points-per-game, with 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists. 

The Celtics won two of the three regular season meetings between the two teams but Miami did come out on top in their most recent clash, claiming a 106-98 victory in Boston in March.

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