12:40pm PT by Mikey O'Connell
NBA Return Delivers High Ratings for ABC, ESPN and TNT
The NBA officially rebounded from the season-delaying lockout of 2011 on Christmas day, with five games across three networks.
Fast affiliate ratings paint a positive picture for the outings, particularly the TNT opener between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks and ABC's broadcast of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The TNT broadcast of Knicks victory over the Celtics ranks as the fourth most-watched regular season NBA game in cable history, averaging 5.9 million viewers and earning a 3.4 households rating 3.9 million households.
The highest-rated Christmas game in cable history, it naturally did well in team towns Boston (7.8 HH rating) and New York (7.2 HH rating).
On ABC, Bulls/Lakers game generated a 6.5 rating among households overnight, making it the network's third highest-rated regular season game ever. Metered markets gave it a whopping 17.4 HH rating in Chicago.
Prior to that game, Miami and Dallas gave ABC a 5.6 households rating, a six percent jump over last year's Boston/Orlando game.
ESPN didn't have the day's big ticket games, but saw Christmas day ratings jumps with its broadcasts of Orlando and Oklahoma City at 8:00 p.m. ET (1.9 HH rating) and the L.A. Clippers and Golden State at 10:30 p.m. ET (2.3 HH rating). They were up 26 percent and 77 percent, respectively, over last year's games on the same day.