Sunday media: If the Lakers are tanking, the Spectrum SportsNet crew covering them isn’t, and the ratings bear it out as well

Bill Macdonald, right, and Stu Lantz before Friday’s Spectrum SportsNet broadcast. They have been together since Macdonald took over fulltime in 2012. Lantz has been with the team on its TV broadcast for the last 30 seasons. (Photo: Spectrum SportsNet)

As the Lakers slosh through to the conclusion of their fourth straight non-playoff losing season, seven years removed their last championship that must feels like decades ago, ratings on Spectrum SportsNet are improving.
Live game ratings are 5 percent higher in the 2016-17 season, they’re 14 percent better for adults 25-54 and 13 percent up for total viewership compared to last season through 71 games, according to network sources.
Programs around the games — Access SportsNet pre- and post-game, for example — also average more than 8,000 more viewers than last season.
So what gives?
The thing that has remained a non-negotiable part of the Spectrum SportsNet telecast for all of those in front of and behind the camera is a standard mode of operation established by Chick Hearn.
During a Hall of Fame broadcasting run with the franchise from the early 1960s right up until his passing in 2002, Hearn may have provided his own brand of Showtime behind the mic, but truth-telling was at the core through words, pictures and actions.
“There may not be a million people watching games on a night-to-night basis,” Bill Macdonald, the third play-by-play man to do Lakers games since Hearn, said prior to Friday’s broadcast, “but there are millions of people, worldwide, who want to know what’s going on with the team each game. You can’t BS Lakers fans. Chick not only set the standard, but that’s the way it should be done anyway.”
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