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When Shaq was in Phoenix, he dubbed Warriors forward Louis Amundson, “Lightning Lou.”

“There’s ‘Thunder Dan’ (Majerle) and there’s ‘Lightning Lou,’” he told me. “Don’t go messing that up.”

We didn’t. “Lightning Lou” won the nickname contest and Amundson became a fan favorite in the Valley before signing a two-year deal with the Warriors this summer.

After posting a career-high 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds to go along with a career-high-tying 0.9 blocks in 14.8 minutes a game last season, Amundson is averaging 3.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 13.6 minutes a night this season.

Having only appeared in 34 games this season, the 6-9 forward was forced out of the lineup because of surgery on his right index finger, as well as an injured back. Due to those injuries, tonight will be Amundson’s first chance to play in Phoenix since signing with Golden State.

“I think miss the friendships made and the camaraderie the most,” Amundson said.”We had such a unique chemistry and spirit that is really uncommon in today’s NBA.”

Amundson still keeps in touch with his former teammates and members of the staff.

“I think we all recognized that it was a special year for us and that doesn’t come along very often,” Amundson said. “With our second unit we developed our identity of coming into the game and putting a lot of pressure on the other team. And the leadership that Steve showed just trickled down and from the top down we all just bought in to what we’re doing.”

According to Amundson, chemistry – that ever-elusive element – separates the great teams from the average ones.

“You can see with teams like Miami that are trying to put the best five players that they can but that doesn’t always work,” he said.