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Knicks-Heat Is ESPN’s Highest Rated NY NBA Regular-Season Game

The New York Knicks’ win at the Miami Heat earned the best preliminary local television rating ever for an ESPN regular-season National Basketball Association game in the biggest U.S. media market.

Last night’s game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, which New York won 91-86 behind Carmelo Anthony’s 29 points, was seen in an average of 4.3 percent of households in New York, Bill Hofheimer, a spokesman for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, said in an e-mail. That topped a 2003 meeting of the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that featured a matchup of Shaquille O’Neal and then-rookie Yao Ming, which earned a 3.5 rating. ESPN’s data dates back to 2002.

An average of 6.8 percent of households in Miami watched yesterday’s game, making it the second-best rating for an ESPN NBA regular-season game in that city, behind a Heat meeting with the Orlando Magic last Oct. 29 that drew a 9.3 rating.

An average of 3.3 percent of households in the top 56 U.S. television markets watched the game, which raised New York’s record to 2-1 since acquiring Anthony and Chauncey Billups last week in a trade with the Denver Nuggets.

Last night’s game competed with the 83rd Academy Awards, which aired on Disney’s ABC Network and had a 24.6 overnight metered-market rating.

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