Madison Square Garden was benched by last year’s NBA work stoppage: That meant fewer games for its New York Knicks, fewer ticket sales, and less advertising for its MSG Networks. The channel’s absence on Time Warner Cable, the result of a contract dispute, just added to MSG’s woes. For the last three months of 2011 the company had net income of $25.6M, down 21.7% vs the previous year, on revenues of $373M, down 13.8%. So where’s the silver lining? Analysts expected things to be worse. The revenue figure was well ahead of the $358M they anticipated. Earnings at 33 cents a share also exceeded the 24 cents that was forecast. MSG Networks saw its total revenues fall 1.2% to $142.4M as the decline in ads and the losses from the Time Warner Cable dispute were partly offset by higher affiliate fees from other pay TV providers. MSG Entertainment, which includes the company’s concert venues and performances, was down 14.8% to $151.2M. Madison Square Garden says that there were fewer performances of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular shows outside of New York — and last year had Cirque du Soleil: Wintuk. Meanwhile, MSG Sports, which includes the company’s sports franchises, fell 31.2% to $88.6M. “Looking ahead, we remain confident in our Company’s long-term growth opportunities due to our unique and valuable content,” CEO Hank Ratner says.