Luke Walton sees some positives to end of winning streak

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the 24-1 Golden State Warriors, who after winning 24 games in a row this season finally took a loss:

No team ever wants to lose a game, but the Warriors grudgingly admitted Monday, after two days of reflection, that the first blemish on their previously perfect record brings a measure of relief.

It took coach Luke Walton, who initially said no part of him welcomed the end of their win streaks – 24 in a row this season, 28 overall – a while to realize this can be a positive.

“I think with the streak being over,” he told after a long pause, “we can get back to focusing on some smaller, more important, detail things. Obviously, you don’t want the streak to be over because of how much fun it is.

“But, I guess, to answer your question, there’s a little part of me that knows we’re going to get some better work in, now that the streak is over.”

Russell Westbrook makes big donation to UCLA

Russell Westbrook is dominant on the basketball court, and has made a huge move off of it, as reported by the Oklahoman:

Russell Westbrook makes big donation to UCLA

How does “Russell Westbrook Court” sound?

On Monday, UCLA announced that Westbrook has a made a “significant financial contribution” to its Mo Ostin Basketball Center project — the largest donation by a former basketball student-athlete in school history.

For his contribution, the university will honor Westbrook, who played two seasons at UCLA, by naming the new men’s basketball practice floor “Russell Westbrook Court.”

“When I heard that I was a little surprised,” Westbrook said Monday via conference call. “I can’t wait until it is all said and done to kind of go in there and shoot and see the court and see my name. It is going to be a great thing to see.”

Star Wars night at Barclays Center

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting on tonight’s Magic at Brooklyn Nets game:

The Nets’ Brook Lopez had reason to feel excited about Monday night.

First, the Magic-Nets game was Star Wars Night at Barclays Center, and Lopez loves Star Wars.

The Nets also distributed Brook Lopez bobbleheads to the first 10,000 fans.

Lopez, a 7-foot center who loves the sci-fi genre and all things Disney, had seen the doll before Monday. The bobblehead features him wearing a Jedi robe, a Nets jersey and Nets warm-up pants. His likeness also wields a blue lightsaber, which is the same color lightsaber Luke Skywalker had in “A New Hope” and in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant named NBA Players of Week through Dec. 13

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 13.

DeRozan led the Raptors to a 4-0 week, averaging 24.0 points (third in the conference), 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 91.9 percent from the free throw line. DeRozan matched his career record, scoring 25-or-more points in three consecutive games, and led Toronto with a game-high 28 points against San Antonio on Dec. 9.

Durant led Oklahoma City to a 4-0 record behind averages of 27.3 points (third in the league), 8.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists (ninth in conference), and 1.8 steals. He shot 59.7 percent from the floor (fourth in the conference) while scoring 30 or more points in two games and was 26-of-27 (96.3 percent) from the foul line. Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season when he scored 25 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Atlanta on Dec. 10. The next night, he scored 21 points, including the Thunder’s final 11, in a 94-90 road win over Utah.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s Pau Gasol, Cleveland’s LeBron James, L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

Nets do not hit three-pointers

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the 7-16 Brooklyn Nets, who are a solid 6-5 at home but just 1-11 on the road, and are bricking three-point shots all season so far:

Nets do not hit three-pointers

The Nets went into Sunday dead last in the NBA in 3-pointers (111), attempts (365) and shooting percentage (.304). To put that in sobering perspective, they had made 16 fewer 3s than Stephen Curry had made all by himself.

The Nets aren’t likely to all of a sudden turn into the Warriors, but they can’t expect Lopez and Thaddeus Young to never have off nights. They will need to find ways to generate perimeter offense, starting Monday against the Magic.

“We’re just trying to get ourselves open looks. The percentages go up when you get open looks, so move the ball, swing the ball around and if we don’t get open looks we drive,’’ Young said. “Guys are doing a very good job against us in terms of guarding the 3-point line. They’re running us off. When we catch the ball, we just have to be ready to shoot and make a play.’’

Basketball Hall of Fame set to reduce eligibility wait time

Here’s reporting some Hall of Fame news, for those of you who maintain a scoreboard at home as to when your favorite players might be added to the Hall’s list of greats:

The Hall of Fame is making major changes to the election process, including reducing the wait for eligibility by one year in a move that could suddenly produce an unexpected mega-class of Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming in 2016, has learned.

An official announcement is expected this week. But people with knowledge of the plans said the Hall has finalized the adjustment to shorten the wait time from five seasons in retirement to four before a player can be nominated, wanting to avoid what becomes a sixth year by the time voting is complete near the end of the NBA regular season. Under the new plan, voting and potential enshrinement would come after five calendar years, rather than five NBA seasons.

Tyler Johnson needs off-season surgery

The Miami Heat are 13-9 this season and getting 9.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game from backup guard Tyler Johnson. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog reporting an injury update:

Tyler Johnson needs off-season surgery

The good news for Tyler Johnson in the short term is that he expects to be back any day from his shoulder issue. The downside, though, is that he eventually needs surgery to repair it.

Johnson has an impingement in his left shoulder (his shooting shoulder) and has missed the last two games. The Heat are uncertain whether they will have him tonight at Atlanta.

“It just got a little bit irritated, so we’re trying to calm it down,” he said Sunday. “I’ll be a game-time decision (Monday), but no later than Wednesday. I’ll for sure play on Wednesday (at Brooklyn).”