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NBA TV Ratings Rise; Will Trend Continue Without The Lakers?

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Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

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NEW YORK (CBS/AP) – Television viewership is up nearly one-third for the NBA playoffs, and the conference finals are off to a strong start.

Games in the first two rounds averaged an audience of 4.92 million people, compared with 3.74 million last year. The conference semifinals averaged 6.14 million viewers, a 28 percent increase from 2010.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals was watched by 11.1 million people, the most for an NBA game on cable.

The previous record of 10.8 million was for Michael Jordan’s last All-Star Game in 2003, when the population was smaller.

Tuesday night marks the first time since the 2006-2007 playoffs the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t played in the Western Conference Finals.

 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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