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LBJ and Heat in game 7 top NHL, Yanks here

By Alan Pergament

It is widely believed that this is a hockey town in from January through June after the Bills season ends. Or a  New York Yankees baseball town.

If you listen to sport station WGR radio and Buffalo News sports columnist Jerry Sullivan isn't making an appearance you might not realize that the NBA exists on many days.

But for one night, the NBA dominated the TV ratings here.

Admittedly, the NBA had an advantage: LeBron James (LBJ) and the Miami Heat were in an Eastern Conference finals series-deciding Game 7 Monday night with the Indiana Pacers while the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins were only playing the second game in their Eastern Conference finals series and the Yankees were playing an early June game with Cleveland.

But the size of the NBA's win here still was impressive.

The 6.0 rating for the Heat's 99-76 victory over the Pacers on cable's TNT was higher than the combined rating for the Bruins' 6-1 rout of Pittsburgh on the NBC Sports Network (3.2) and the Yanks' 7-4 win over Cleveland (2.6) on YES.

Both the NBA and NHL games were one-sided so the ratings could have been higher for each if they had been more competitive.

You can love or hate the best basketball player in the world (I'm a huge fan), but you can't help but marvel at LBJ's play. As expected here, LeBron got a higher percentage of foul calls in the deciding game than he did in the rest of the series and hit 15 of 16 free throws in a 32-point performance.

The NBA has to be ecstatic that James and the Heat moved on to the NBA Finals against San Antonio starting Thursday on ABC. A Pacers victory would have been a ratings killer.

Speaking of ratings, Monday's premiere of ABC's silly "Mistresses" only averaged a 3.3 rating on Channel 7 and lost about 25 percent of its audience in the first 15 minutes.

NBC's "The Voice" dominated here Monday, averaging an 8.5 rating on Channel 2 to deliver a strong lead-in to "Revolution" (6.2).

The AMC pairing of "The Killing" and "Mad Men" wasn't very popular here Sunday, considering all the publicity they receive. The two-hour premiere of the third season of "The Killing" had a 1.8 local rating. "Mad Men," which has been disappointing and exasperating viewers all season, averaged a 1.7 rating. I'm almost surprised it did that well considering how boring and repetitive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has become.

By comparison, the ultra-violent semifinal episode of HBO's "Game of Thrones" averaged a 3.4 local rating Sunday even though it is a pay-cable series that is in far fewer homes here than AMC.

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