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The Los Angeles Lakers' slam-dunk NBA championship victory over the New Jersey Nets during a sports-saturated week of television proved to be a ratings air ball for the NBC network.

The Shaquille O'Neal-led Lakers' four-games-to-zero rout of the Nets in the best-of-seven series drew the lowest ratings for National Basketball Association finals competition in more than 20 years, according to Nielsen Media Research figures issued on Friday.

The four games together averaged 15.8 million viewers and a household rating of 10.2, down 16 percent from the Lakers' triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers in last year's five-game NBA championship.

Each rating point represents 1,055,000 homes, or 1 percent of U.S. households with television sets.

This year's NBA Finals yielded the lowest household rating for a pro-basketball championship since the 6.7 rating posted by CBS in 1981, when the Boston Celtics beat the Houston Rockets in six games.

By comparison, the most watched NBA Finals ever was Michael Jordan's most recent farewell appearance with the Chicago Bulls in their 1998 victory over the Utah Jazz. That six-game series drew a record 18.7 household rating.

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