Overnights for the game were up 65 percent from last year’s Orlando Magic-Cleveland Cavilers tilt. In fact, the match was the fourth-most-watched telecast of the season on TNT, “behind only Heat/Celtics on Opening Night (5.6), Heat/Cavaliers on December 2 (5.0), and Rockets/Lakers on Opening Night (3.5).” (By comparison, the first Lakers/Celtics match earned a 5.0 on ABC on a Sunday afternoon.)
In a way, the ratings shouldn’t be a big surprise since this was a bit of a perfect storm. Sports fans are in the Super Bowl hangover period, starved for good action. It doesn’t get much better than the two best teams in the NBA who happen to be the league’s biggest rivals as well. Add the Reggie Miller intrigue and you have yourself a ratings bonanza.