Duke Basketball: A Blue Devils viewers guide to Christmas Day basketball

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Jayson Tatum #0 during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on December 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Jayson Tatum #0 during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on December 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Christmas Day is upon us and that means one thing, basketball all day long, which means former Duke Basketball players showcasing their skills on one of the biggest days in the NBA’s regular season.

Christmas Day may be the biggest day of the NBA’s regular season and there will be a former Duke Basketball player on the floor in every contest of the five game slate.

The slate starts off with the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks from Madison Square Garden at 12:00 pm ET on ESPN.

Trevon Duval signed with the Bucks as an undrafted free agent on a two way contract, but the former Duke freshman has yet to make his NBA debut and remains with the Bucks G-League affiliate.

As for the Knicks, former Blue Devil Lance Thomas will lace up his kicks and hit the hardwood after returning from a knee injury.

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This will be Thomas’ fourth game back and on the season he is averaging 3.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.6 assists per game.

Lance Thomas was on hand in his home arena to see the Blue Devils defeat Texas Tech 69-58 on Thursday night.

The next game on Christmas Day is the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at 3:00 pm ET on ABC and just until yesterday Duke fans weren’t expecting a former Blue Devil in this game, with the injury to Chris Paul, the Rockets signed Austin Rivers to a contract.

Rivers was involved in the chaotic deal as he was sent from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns, but was then bought out by the Suns, making him a free agent.

It has been reported by the Houston Chronicle that Rivers will play in this game, and he did practice with the team on December 24. The former Duke freshman averaged 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game with the Wizards.

The biggest game of the day for former Blue Devils will be at 5:30 pm ET on ABC as the Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Celtics will send out former Blue Devils Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum, while the 76ers will lean on the veteran presence of J.J. Redick.

Irving has averaged 22.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game while Tatum has posted 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.

J.J. Redick is still a prolific scorer as he averages 18.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game for the 76ers who will be looking to maintain its advantage on the Celtics.

The 76ers currently hold the No. 4 seed and a two game lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference with a 22-12 record as the Celtics have the No. 5 seed with a 19-13 record.

The most anticipated matchup of the day will take place at 8:00 pm ET on ABC and ESPN as the Los Angeles Lakers travel to Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers have gotten an added boost to its lineup with the return of Brandon Ingram from an ankle injury. In his two games back, Ingram has scored 18 and 20 points, respectively.

On the season Ingram is averaging 15.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.

On the other side of the floor will be National Champion Quinn Cook of the Golden State Warriors.

Cook has not seen that big of a role in recent games for the defending NBA Champions, but on the season the former Duke guard has averaged 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.

In the last game of the day, there are still some former Blue Devils on the floor between the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 pm ET.

The oldest Blue Devil on the floor will be on the Portland Trail Blazers with Seth Curry.

After missing the majority of last season due to injury, Curry signed with the Trail Blazers in the off season and has averaged 4.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game.

Along with Curry, the Trail Blazers have Gary Trent Jr. on its roster but the rookie has only appeared in three games this season and in those three games has averaged 3.3 points per game.

On the other side the Utah Jazz will have head coach former Blue Devils Quin Synder and Grayson Allen.

The Athletic is reporting that Allen will not play on Christmas Day against Portland due to an ankle injury but in 17 games this season the former Duke captain has averaged 4.1 points per game.

As for the Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, he has the Utah Jazz playing much better basketball and after a season where the team surprisingly made the playoffs, the Jazz started off this season on the wrong foot.

Utah currently has a 16-18 record, which is good enough for the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference, two games behind the Houston Rockets for the lasted and coveted No. 8 seed.

While Christmas is a day to be with friends and family, it’s a big day for The Brotherhood of Duke Basketball as the youngest and brightest stars of the NBA will be on display all day from the worlds best college basketball program.