RSN Roundball; The West

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Northwest

Comcast SportsNet Northwest averaged a 3.4 last year, as Bradon Roy, Lamar Aldridge and the rest of the Young Trail Blazers showed marked improvement en route to a 113% Nielsen surge. Greg Oden, who missed his rookie year, played a handful of minutes in the opener before spraining his foot. Should he not be Sam Bowie, Portland should rise in the West. Filling a couple of significant distribution holes would help on the Nielsen front.

Denver was an easy first-round out each of the past two seasons with the combo of The Answer and Mello. With Iverson shipped to Detroit for Chauncey Billups (Antonio McDyess has been let out of his contract) and Marcus Camby a Clipper, there’s plenty of questions surrounding George Karl’s team. Altitude’s 2007-08 results remained a mystery at press time.

SOUTHWEST

Can the addition of James Posey vault CP3 and the New Orleans Hornets to the top of the West? Perhaps. No Nielsen information on the Hornets performance on TK was available at press time.

Maybe it’s the beard. Or Pop let loyalty blind him as a GM to the fact the San Antonio Spurs have gotten very old. Without the injured Manu Ginobli, the Spurs struggled to the extent they needed Tony Parker to drop a double nickel to beat the T’Wolves for their first win. Now Mr. Eva Longorio will be out a month with a sprained ankle. The Spurs were at the top of the RSN NBA heap last season, edging up 0.1 point to a 7.1 mark in the DMA. That’s going to be tough to match this season.

The Grizzlies have some young talent in O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. They’re off to an okay start, but they’re going to lose a lot of games in what has been the league’s toughest division. But they should score okay on the box during their rookie campaign on the newly christened FS Tennessee.

After coughing up a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals and then notching the league’s best record in 2007 only to fall in the first round of the playoffs, Mark Cuban’s crew regressed significantly last year. The mid-season addition of Jason Kidd didn’t do much in 2008 and the Mavericks’ average on FS Southwest plummeted to a 2.1 from a 3.8. The Mavs may not be appreciably better on the court, but things haven’t been going much better for the Cowboys or George Bush, so Texans may be looking for ways to entertain themselves this winter.

The Rockets, who scored a 20-game winning streak, second longest in league history, roped a 3.2 average for FSN Houston last season, up from a 2.6. The improvement came despite the season-ending injury to Yao Ming. If malcontent Ron Artest can keep his head on, If T-Mac and Yao don’t get hurt, some see the Rockets soaring toward the Lakers and Hornets atop the West. That’s too many ifs from this perch. But a fast start could usher in another nice Nielsen gain.

Pacific

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