NBA's Christmas package produces strong overnight TV ratings

Television ratings for the NBA's five Christmas Day games were down slightly from last year when the league returned from a lockout but up from two years ago.

Based on overnight numbers from Nielsen, the Oklahoma City-Miami game received the highest rating with a 6.0 share nationally, which also was the fourth highest in history for a regular-season game on ABC. That, however, was down from the Chicago Bulls-Los Angeles Lakers game from last year and the Lakers-Heat game in 2010.

Additionally, the Heat-Thunder game broke records in Oklahoma City and Miami as the most watched regular-season game ever on ABC.

The New York Knicks-Lakers game followed with a 5.9, the best rating on Christmas Day for ABC in the early window of a doubleheader. In the same time slot, the Heat-Dallas Mavericks matchup received a 5.6 last year.

The opening game of the extravaganza, which paired Boston against Brooklyn, drew a 2.7 rating, Houston and the Bulls received a 1.7, up 21 percent from a game two years ago in the same time slot, and the Los Angeles Clippers' late game against Denver capped the day with a 2.0 rating, up 54 percent from Portland-Golden State two years ago.

Add to that the NBA's highest-rated tripleheader ever on ESPN, with a 2.1 average, was up 17 percent from a 1.8 in 2010 and it was an impressive day for viewership.