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Thunder, Heat, Knicks have most nationally televised games

Jul 27, 2012, 9:54 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James is guarded by Oklahoma City Thunder's Durant during the first quarter in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals in Oklahoma City Reuters

It’s a sign of respect. And it shows popularity. But ultimately, it shows the ability to draw ratings.

One of the key questions when a new NBA schedule comes out is “how many times is a team on national television? And I’m not talking NBA TV picking up the local broadcast, I mean on one of the key national partners of the league — TNT, ESPN or ABC. A team can be on up to 25 times a season.

The Heat, Thunder and Knicks are the three teams that reach that 25 limit. It makes a lot of sense in the case of the Heat and Thunder, who met in the finals and have two of the biggest stars in the game in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. People tune in to watch them play.

The Knicks? They reach the max in part because New York is a huge market and draw, and part because their combination of star players is potentially combustible. They will be a good team and likely one with drama around it. And drama sells.

The Lakers will have 24 nationally televised games, which is not a surprise. After that your next two teams you expect to see on the list because they are good and have big followings: The Boston Celtics (19) and the Chicago Bulls (19). After that it slips down to teams like the Spurs (16) and the Clippers (13).

Among the evolution is seeing the Suns drop off the map without Steve Nash while the Pacers, after their strong playoff showings, are up to 7 nationally televised games.

  1. chicitybulls - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    What problem do you have with NBA TV? Great channel with no agendas like most of those others except TNT. Pure and real. 2 best stations for basketball on the air. Which is why TNT keeps winning emmys for Inside the NBA.

    • phaden27 - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      I love me some Kamla.

  2. isujames - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Great, I would rather watch a youthful team get up and down the court than the old as $hit lakers.

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      The Knicks are a youthful team?

  3. jimsjam33 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Put the Clippers on 12 more times . Griffin and CP3 are way more exciting than any other team !

    • mat9844 - Jul 27, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Couldn’t agree with you more, but I catch all their games on NBA Pass. Worth it’s weight in gold.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    If the Knicks beat the Heat in a regular season game in NY, will they drop confetti and streamers from the rafters like they did when they won Game 4 to narrow the series 3-1?

    How funny was that?

  5. quancao - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Heat and Thunder are understandable because they are the two best teams and their run and gun brand of basketball is fun to watch. But why Knicks? And if it is because of NY/LA market, then why are Lakers no longer elite? Will Clippers push Lakers and Nets push Knicks to the side?

  6. misterdreamer119 - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Its all about the Boston Celtics! Defense, defense!

  7. naterich21 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Not sure how Celtics get less televised games than last year despite improving the most since the 2007 offseason

  8. The Prophet - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    I think the TV networks set this schedule before Jeremy Lin became a Rocket. Otherwise i think the Knicks have slipped back into irrelevancy!

  9. knightrider1755 - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Can’t wait to see Camby, Kidd and Kurt Thomas run up the court against the Thunder.

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