may have had mixed feelings about the labor disputes -- but it didn't show for the first games on Christmas Day of the new shortened season.
The marquee match-up on ABC between last year's NBA finalists Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks grew 6% to a 5.6 Nielsen household rating over last year's Christmas Day game featuring the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
ABC said the game was the best-rated early Christmas Day game in seven years -- a Miami Heat-Los Angeles Lakers contest in 2004 with a 7.9 rating.
The second game of the four-game day -- Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers -- got to a Nielsen preliminary 6.5 household rating -- ABC’s third-highest-rated NBA regular-season game.
Later games on ABC's sister network ESPN also did well. The Orlando Magic-Oklahoma City Thunder has a Nielsen preliminary 1.9 household rating -- up 36% from a comparable game a year ago.
The late-night game -- the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors -- pulled in an early 2.3 rating, a 77% improvement over a comparable game a year ago. This became ESPN’s highest-rated Christmas Day game ever in prime time.
Also on Christmas Day, TNT -- with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks -- took in 5.9 million viewers, the most-watched Christmas NBA cable telecast ever.