Atlanta -- Turner Sports will telecast 45 National
Basketball Association games when the truncated season begins in February, but it will
still lose about 35 games due to the league's six-month lockout.
It's unclear how the company will be compensated for
the lost telecasts, but Turner executives said they have a little flexibility to change
the schedule for more appealing games.
"We would be foolish to say that we expect the ratings
to be as high as they were coming out of last year," said Kevin O'Malley, senior
vice president of programming for Turner Sports. "But I didn't feel like there
was a lot of rancor among the fans [due to the lockout]."
One team that will not be seen on either Turner Network
Television or TBS Superstation is the Michael Jordan-less defending champion Chicago
"They remain the biggest mystery, and we couldn't
afford to put any mystery teams on the schedule," O'Malley said. "But if
Chicago is a [playoff] competitor, we could possibly fit them in."