O'Neal's new team ties with 24 slots in lineup
NEW YORK — Even without Shaquille O’Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers are still showtime when it comes to national TV coverage.The National Basketball Assn. has drawn up its TV schedule for the 2004-05 regular season, and the Lakers have 24 slots in the lineup, a tie for the most appearances with the Miami Heat, which got O’Neal from the Lakers in a recent trade, and the Houston Rockets, which traded in the off-season for the league’s No. 1 scorer, Tracy McGrady. For each of the three teams, ESPN will carry 10 games, TNT nine and ABC five. The NBA champion Detroit Pistons will get 23 national slots — 10 on ESPN, nine on TNT and four on ABC. Three teams will be shut out of national coverage: the Atlanta Hawks, the Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards.