The presence of superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and...

The presence of superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and the large New York market should give NBA playoff ratings a healthy boost. Credit: Jim McIsaac

When David Levy spoke to his superiors at Turner a few years back about renewing with the NBA, he pitched the fact that the league was healthy even without a relevant team in New York -- and the likelihood that the nation's No. 1 market someday would be back.

"You can't believe it was going to be dormant for another eight years,'' said Levy, president of Turner Sports, referring to the length of the new contract. "At some point, the Knicks were going to turn it back around. This is the Mecca of basketball.''

Well, here we are. Tuesday night's game against the Bulls will be the Knicks' fifth on TNT this season; they totaled three in the previous five years. ESPN/ABC showed 10 Knicks games, equal to the number from the previous five years combined.

Next up: the playoffs, which involve the Knicks for the first time in seven years and the five biggest markets -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas -- for the first time in 21.

That is happy news for the NBA and its partners, who enjoyed a strong ratings regular season across the board. TNT is up 46 percent.

Locally, MSG's average Knicks rating is up 93 percent over last season, and the network is gearing up to cover the Knicks and Rangers in the postseason for the first time since 1997.

Bernard King, Earl Monroe, Mike Keenan and Brian Leetch are on board as guest studio analysts, and MSG will offer pre- and postgame shows for each playoff game, regardless of whether it is on the channel.

In the NBA, all TNT and ESPN games in the first round will be shown both on those networks and MSG. ABC's games are national exclusives.

In the NHL, Versus' first-round coverage will be blacked out in New York, so MSG or MSG Plus will have Games 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 exclusively. NBC has national exclusives for Games 3 and 5.

Wolff tells his story

Do not be misled by the title of the new book, "Bob Wolff's Complete Guide to Sportscasting, How to Make it in Sportscasting With or Without Talent.''

Yes, there is advice for aspiring TV and radio pros, much of it as relevant as it was when the 90-year-old was getting started.

But Wolff, still on the job for News 12 Long Island, often presents that advice in the context of his own adventures in sportscasting, making the book as much autobiography as how-to, and thus of interest to the wider world of sports fans.

"Everyone has his or her own story as to how they did it,'' he said. "As a consequence, I thought the best way was to illustrate how I did it. I used my story.''

The length and breadth of his career are evident in the photos, which show him with Babe Ruth, Harry Truman, Rogers Hornsby, Vince Lombardi, Milton Berle, Rocky Marciano and Jackie Robinson, among many others.

"I saved everything,'' he said.

Wolff will promote the book at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore April 21 (www.boultoncenter.org), during which he will interview SNY analyst Ron Darling.

The $35 admission includes an autographed copy.

CBS keeps eye on ball

TV production types will tell you no sport is more complex to chronicle than golf. Never was that more true than Sunday, when CBS had to maintain a furious pace to keep up with shots from those on the busy Masters leader board.

The network did a fine job, helped by the limited commercial interruptions. Announcers were so busy calling the action that they did not have time to enjoy the azaleas, which made it seem more like a sports event and less like the annual ode to Augusta.

Tiger Woods enhanced the drama on the course, and he was back to his prickly self off it in an interview with Bill Macatee.

Woods should have been more gracious, but Macatee added to the awkwardness with poorly focused questions. Amazing after all these years how many interviewers still seem to get nervous around Tiger.