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.

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