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Ex-Cavs player: Knicks' locker room culture is better

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Ex-Cavs player: Knicks' locker room culture is better

So who is Lou Amundson? He's pretty much an afterthought, a utility player who had his best run with the Phoenix Suns when they were competing in the conference finals with Steve Nash. He also has played for 10 NBA teams and had some insight on what went on with the Cleveland Cavaliers after the firing of coach David Blatt.

In comments to the New York Post's Marc Berman, Amundson said he preferred being with the five-win Knicks at the time rather than the Cavs who eventually would make a run to the NBA Finals.

“It’s hard for a rookie coach to come in and be in a situation like that where one guy (LeBron James) is such a big influence on a whole organization,’’ Amundson said. “That’s a tough position to be in. However, you need in that situation to be assertive and make sure your players know you’re going to hold them accountable, every one of them, and they’re going to respect you. In the NBA, coaching is more managing than coaching.

“It’s important to just be assertive and not let that happen. Hold everybody accountable, otherwise you lose respect and attention of your guys.’’

Amundson usually has good insight, but he's not often heard from because of his role. He's an emergency big body who comes at a relatively inexpensive price.

A coach calling out a star player, the way Randy Wittman has occasionally done with John Wall in his sixth season, can be risky but is required and if that player has the right attitude he'll respond. Rick Carlisle and Stan Van Gundy took issue with Blatt's firing but both have a long history of doing that, too.

Blatt apparently was reluctant to do this in Cleveland and it created a ripple effect among the other players in the locker room.

“It didn’t feel like it should feel,’’ Amundson told The Post. “A team with championship aspirations, that’s not how it was supposed to feel."

That's when a coach has actually lost the locker room, or in Blatt's case maybe he never had it to begin with. A team can win like the Cavs and that can still be the case, and if the coach doesn't have a good relationship with the best player that's all it takes. 

[RELATED: NBA coaches weigh in on 'embarrassing' firing of David Blatt]

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.