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NBA finals draw biggest rating since Shaq/Kobe teams

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It’s a glass half full or half empty kind of thing.

The facts are that Game 1 of the NBA finals Tuesday — Miami’s 92-84 win over Dallas — drew a 10.7 rating nationally, the highest rating for a Game 1 since the 2004 NBA finals (the Pistons vs. the Lakers of Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone and Gary Payton).

That is a 3 percent increase over Game 1 last season, between the Lakers and Celtics. Remember that last year’s finals featuring the two biggest rivals and two of the most tradition heavy teams in the league saw a 20 percent jump over the 2009 finals.

But this game also trails the level of gains seen earlier in the playoffs, particularly on TNT, where the increases were closer to 25 percent.

CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell also tweeted this:

Prediction: As the Heat take more control of this series, ratings will continue to fall. Fans rooting against Heat will drop out.

Maybe. But previous series have not seen that kind of drop off involving the Heat. For the NBA to maintain or improve on the level of last year’s finals just emphasizes the momentum the league has right now. Momentum the lockout will kill if games are missed.