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ABC Scores with Yuletide B-Ball

Take a head-to-head matchup between former teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and add in a national holiday with enough big meals to plant more than the usual number of tube tubors in front of the TV set, and you get the best National Basketball Association regular-season ratings on any network in over half a decade.

ABC recorded an 8.0 rating/21 share in household overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers for its Christmas Day afternoon contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, the network's  first NBA broadcast of the new season.

It was ABC's highest rating ever for a regular season NBA game, a whopping 78% better than last year's Christmas Day Lakers/Rockets game, which averaged a 4.5/9.

The game was the highest rated NBA regular season game on ABC ever and, according to the happy network, the highest anywhere since Feb. 1, 1998, another Lakers game (on NBC), that time against the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.

It was ABC's first NBA game since the sixth and final game of last season which featured, you guessed it, the Lakers. In that game, won by Detroit to clinch the series, ABC scored its biggest Tuesday night audience in three years.