The good news for basketball fans is that TNT and ESPN Tuesday announced its 2011-12 NBA regular season cable schedule.
The bad news is that some of all NBA telecasts may be cancelled due the league's current lockout situation.
If the season begins on time, TNT will open the season Nov. 1 with a doubleheader featuring the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks hosting the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder against the L.A. Lakers, said Turner officials. The Mavericks, Lakers and Boston Celtics will appear on TNT 10 times, while LeBron James and the Miami Heat along with the Chicago Bulls will play nine times on TNT.
In addition, 15 of the 16 playoff teams from last year will play on TNT, including eight scheduled appearances each for the New York Knicks, Thunder and Orlando Magic.
Overall, TNT is scheduled to air 52 games in primetime during its 28th season on NBA basketball coverage, with 44 being part of TNT's Thursday night exclusive doubleheaders.
ESPN launches its NBA coverage with a Nov. 2 doubleheader featuring the Heat versus the Knicks and the Golden State Warriors against the Lakers. The Heat will be featured 16 times between ESPN and ABC, followed by Lakers (15 times) and the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks (14 times.)
Highlights of ESPN's NBA regular season schedule include a Christmas Day NBA Finals rematch between the Heat and Mavericks, part of a Dec. 25 tripleheader shared with ABC.
Overall, ESPN's multiplatform coverage of the 2011-12 NBA regular season will include 75 telecasts, with broadcast partner ABC airing an additional 15 games. All games will be available in high definition, with all ESPN telecasts also available via ESPN3.com and nearly all on ESPN Mobile TV.
Additionally, fans who receive their cable TV video subscription from an affiliated provider will be able to tune in live via the WatchESPN app on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
NBA TV will present 96 live NBA games during the 2011-12 regular season, beginning with a Nov. 5 Thunder/Mavericks matchup, said network officials.
If pro basketball is played this year, Both TNT and ESPN are hoping to at least duplicate last year's record regular season numbers.
During its 52-game regular season, the NBA on TNT averaged a 1.6 U.S. household rating, up 45% from a 1.1 in the 2009-10 season and a 42% increase to 2.45 million viewers from 1.72 million.
ESPN and ABC last season notched their top seasons since beginning their coverage during the 2002-03 season. ESPN averaged a 1.5 rating and just over 2 million viewers for 71 games, increases of 25% and 29%, respectively, over a 1.2 and 1.56 million watchers for 75 contests last season.
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