NBA Conference Finals Numbers Game

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Ratings and viewership for every game of the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals dating back to 2002. Viewership unavailable for some games.

The 2011 Heat/Bulls Eastern Conference Finals was the most-viewed ever on cable, averaging a 6.2 U.S. rating and 10.413 million viewers. The previous cable record was a 5.4 and 8.633 for Magic/Cavaliers in 2009.

The 2002 Lakers/Kings Western Conference Finals still stands as the most-viewed conference final of the past ten seasons, averaging over 12 million viewers across NBC and TNT. That series was just one of two Conference Finals over the past ten seasons to go to seven games.

2011

EAST FINALS: HEAT 4, BULLS 1
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/15/11 MIA 83, CHI 102 TNT
6.2
11,109
2
Wed., 5/18/11 MIA 85, CHI 75 TNT
6.1
10,036
3
Sun., 5/22/11 CHI 85, MIA 96 TNT
6.4
10,889
4
Tue., 5/24/11 CHI 93, MIA 101 TNT
6.1
9,770
5
Thu., 5/26/11 MIA 83, CHI 80 TNT
6.4
10,407
WEST FINALS: MAVERICKS 4, THUNDER 1
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Tue., 5/17/11 OKC 112, DAL 121 ESPN
4.3
6,982
2
Thu., 5/19/11 OKC 106, DAL 100 ESPN
4.4
7,041
3
Sat., 5/21/11 DAL 93, OKC 87 ESPN
3.7
6,175
4
Mon., 5/23/11 DAL 112, OKC 105 ESPN
4.6
7,410
5
Wed., 5/25/11 OKC 96, DAL 100 ESPN
4.5
7,012

2010

EAST FINALS: CELTICS 4, MAGIC 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/16/10 BOS 92, ORL 88 ABC
4.5
7,030
2
Tue., 5/18/10 BOS 95, ORL 92 ESPN
4.6
7,156
3
Sat., 5/22/10 ORL 71, BOS 94 ESPN
3.7
6,023
4
Mon., 5/24/10 ORL 96, BOS 92 ESPN
4.9
7,960
5
Wed., 5/26/10 BOS 92, ORL 113 ESPN
4.4
6,835
6
Fri., 5/28/10 ORL 84, BOS 96 ESPN
4.6
7,538
WEST FINALS: LAKERS 4, SUNS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Mon., 5/17/10 PHX 107, LAL 128 TNT
4.4
7,112
2
Wed., 5/19/10 PHX 112, LAL 124 TNT
4.4
7,004
3
Sun., 5/23/10 LAL 109, PHX 118 TNT
5.0
8,460
4
Tue., 5/25/10 LAL 106, PHX 115 TNT
4.9
7,641
5
Thu., 5/27/10 PHX 101, LAL 103 TNT
5.3
8,670
6
Sat., 5/29/10 LAL 111, PHX 103 TNT
4.8
8,154

2009

EAST FINALS: MAGIC 4, CAVALIERS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1 Wed., 5/20/09 ORL 107, CLE 106 TNT
4.6
7,321
2 Fri., 5/22/09 ORL 95, CLE 96 TNT
4.4
6,910
3 Sun., 5/24/09 CLE 89, ORL 99 TNT
5.4
8,969
4 Tue., 5/26/09 CLE 114, ORL 116 TNT
6.3
10,075
5 Thu., 5/28/09 ORL 102, CLE 112 TNT
6.2
9,995
6 Sat., 5/30/09 CLE 90, ORL 103 TNT
5.2
8,362
WEST FINALS: LAKERS 4, NUGGETS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Tue., 5/19/09 DEN 103, LAL 105 ESPN
5.0
8,085
2
Thu., 5/21/09 DEN 106, LAL 103 ESPN
4.9
7,886
3
Sat., 5/23/09 LAL 103, DEN 97 ABC
5.4
8,731
4
Mon., 5/25/09 LAL 101, DEN 120 ESPN
5.8
9,731
5
Wed., 5/27/09 DEN 94, LAL 103 ESPN
5.6
9,238
6
Fri., 5/29/09 LAL 119, DEN 92 ESPN
5.1
8,462

2008

EAST FINALS: CELTICS 4, PISTONS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Tue., 5/20/08 DET 79, BOS 88 ESPN
3.7
5,431
2
Thu., 5/22/08 DET 103, BOS 97 ESPN
3.9
5,698
3
Sat., 5/24/08 BOS 94, DET 80 ABC
3.7
5,454
4
Mon., 5/26/08 BOS 75, DET 94 ESPN
4.0
6,086
5
Wed., 5/28/08 DET 102, BOS 106 ESPN
4.3
6,434
6
Fri., 5/30/08 BOS 89, DET 81 ESPN
4.2
6,445
WEST FINALS: LAKERS 4, SPURS 1
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Wed., 5/21/08 SA 85, LAL 89 TNT
4.1
6,190
2
Fri., 5/23/08 SA 71, LAL 101 TNT
3.7
5,513
3
Sun., 5/25/08 LAL 84, SA 103 TNT
3.7
5,729
4
Tue., 5/27/08 LAL 93, SA 91 TNT
4.8
7,247
5
Thu., 5/29/08 SA 92, LAL 100 TNT
4.6
6,794

2007

EAST FINALS: CAVALIERS 4, PISTONS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Mon., 5/21/07 CLE 76, DET 79 TNT
2.7
3,910
2
Thu., 5/24/07 CLE 76, DET 79 TNT
2.9
4,250
3
Sun., 5/27/07 DET 82, CLE 88 TNT
2.9
4,370
4
Tue., 5/29/07 DET 87, CLE 91 TNT
3.2
4,734
5
Thu., 5/31/07 CLE 109, DET 107 TNT
4.0
5,649
6
Sat., 6/2/07 DET 82, CLE 98 TNT
4.5
6,914
WEST FINALS: SPURS 4, JAZZ 1
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/20/07 UTA 100, SA 108 ABC
3.1
2
Tue., 5/22/07 UTA 96, SA 105 ESPN
2.4
3,420
3
Sat., 5/26/07 SA 83, UTA 109 ABC
3.1
4,698
4
Mon., 5/28/07 SA 91, UTA 79 ESPN
2.9
4,614
5
Wed., 5/30/07 UTA 84, SA 109 ESPN
2.7
3,969

2006

EAST FINALS: HEAT 4, PISTONS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Tue., 5/23/06 MIA 91, DET 86 ESPN
3.7
5,370
2
Thu., 5/25/06 MIA 88, DET 92 ESPN
3.8
5,750
3
Sat., 5/27/06 DET 83, MIA 98 ESPN
3.4
4,720
4
Mon., 5/29/06 DET 78, MIA 89 ABC
5.5
8,190
5
Wed., 5/31/06 MIA 78, DET 91 ESPN
4.5
6,600
6
Fri., 6/2/06 DET 78, MIA 95 ESPN
4.4
6,460
WEST FINALS: MAVERICKS 4, SUNS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Wed., 5/24/06 PHX 121, DAL 118 TNT
3.5
3,840**
2
Fri., 5/26/06 PHX 98, DAL 105 TNT
3.6
5,320
3
Sun., 5/28/06 DAL 95, PHX 88 TNT
3.3
5,040
4
Tue., 5/30/06 DAL 86, PHX 106 TNT
4.1
5,750
5
Thu., 6/1/06 PHX 101, DAL 117 TNT
4.2
6,200
6
Sat., 6/3/06 DAL 102, PHX 93 TNT
3.9
5,890

2005

EAST FINALS: PISTONS 4, HEAT 3
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Mon., 5/23/05 DET 90, MIA 81 TNT
3.7
5,371
2
Wed., 5/25/05 DET 86, MIA 92 TNT
3.8
5,461
3
Sun., 5/29/05 MIA 113, DET 104 TNT
3.4
5,298
4
Tue., 5/31/05 MIA 96, DET 106 TNT
4.1
6,072
5
Thu., 6/2/05 DET 76, MIA 88 TNT
3.9
5,640
6
Sat., 6/4/05 MIA 66, DET 91 TNT
3.2
4,997
7
Mon., 6/6/05 DET 88, MIA 82 TNT
6.2
9,149
WEST FINALS: SPURS 4, SUNS 1
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/22/05 SA 121, PHX 114 ABC
4.1
5,843
2
Tue., 5/24/05 SA 111, PHX 108 ESPN
3.4
4,839
3
Sat., 5/28/05 PHX 92, SA 102 ESPN
2.6
3,940
4
Mon., 5/30/05 PHX 111, SA 106 ABC
4.7
7,100
5
Wed., 6/1/05 SA 101, PHX 95 ESPN
3.8
5,285

2004

EAST FINALS: PISTONS 4, PACERS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sat., 5/22/04 DET 74, IND 78 ESPN
2.5
2
Mon., 5/24/04 DET 72, IND 67 ESPN
3.4
4,601
3
Wed., 5/26/04 IND 78, DET 85 ESPN
3.4
4,591
4
Fri., 5/28/04 IND 83, DET 68 ESPN
2.7
3,716
5
Sun., 5/30/04 DET 83, IND 65 ESPN
2.6
4,133
6
Tue., 6/1/04 IND 65, DET 69 ESPN
4.1
5,592
WEST FINALS: LAKERS 4, TIMBERWOLVES 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Fri., 5/21/04 LAL 97, MIN 88 TNT
4.5
7,034
2
Sun., 5/23/04 LAL 71, LAL 89 TNT
5.2
8,163
3
Tue., 5/25/04 MIN 89, LAL 100 TNT
5.5
8,090
4
Thu., 5/27/04 MIN 85, LAL 92 TNT
5.2
7,515
5
Sat., 5/29/04 LAL 96, MIN 98 TNT
4.3
6,565
6
Mon., 5/31/04 MIN 90, LAL 96 TNT
6.0
9,438

2003

EAST FINALS: NETS 4, PISTONS 0
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/18/03 NJ 76, DET 74 ABC
3.5
4,938
2
Tue., 5/20/03 NJ 88, DET 86 ESPN
2.7
3,981
3
Thu., 5/22/03 DET 85, NJ 97 ABC
4.2
5,811
4
Sat., 5/24/03 DET 82, NJ 102 ESPN
1.9
WEST FINALS: SPURS 4, MAVERICKS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Mon., 5/19/03 DAL 113, SA 110 TNT
3.9
5,685
2
Wed., 5/21/03 DAL 106, SA 119 TNT
3.1
4,285
3
Fri., 5/23/03 SA 96, DAL 83 TNT
3.2
4,854
4
Sun., 5/25/03 SA 102, DAL 95 TNT
4.0
6,082
5
Tue., 5/27/03 DAL 103, SA 91 TNT
3.7
5,255
6
Thu., 5/29/03 SA 70, DAL 78 TNT
4.0
5,798

2002

EAST FINALS: NETS 4, CELTICS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sun., 5/19/02 BOS 97, NJ 104 NBC
5.9
8,667
2
Tue., 5/21/02 BOS 93, NJ 86 TNT
2.6
3,804
3
Sat., 5/25/02 NJ 90, BOS 94 NBC
4.2
5,711
4
Mon., 5/27/02 NJ 94, BOS 92 NBC
5.5
7,640
5
Wed., 5/29/02 BOS 92, NJ 103 NBC
7.3
9,913
6
Fri., 5/31/02 NJ 96, BOS 88 NBC
6.5
9,167
WEST FINALS: LAKERS 4, KINGS 2
Gm #
Date
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
1
Sat., 5/18/02 LAL 106, SAC 99 NBC
6.3
9,153
2
Mon., 5/20/02 LAL 90, SAC 96 TNT
3.7
5,538
3
Fri., 5/24/02 SAC 103, LAL 90 NBC
6.7
10,063
4
Sun., 5/26/02 SAC 99, LAL 100 NBC
6.8
9,659
5
Tue., 5/28/02 LAL 91, SAC 92 NBC
9.9
14,586
6
Fri., 5/31/02 SAC 102, LAL 106 NBC
11.1
16,644
7
Sun., 6/2/02 LAL 112, SAC 106 NBC
14.4
23,796

** According to Nielsen’s weekly cable ratings for the week of May 22-28, 2006, Suns/Mavericks Game 1 drew 3.84 million viewers. However, the same listing says the game aired in 3.81 million homes. It seems unlikely that a game that aired in 3.81 million homes would attract just 3.84 million viewers, so the assumption here is that the viewership is incorrect.

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  • JakeFrankie

    Is anyone on this site going to do a NBA Finals Ratings prediction? I would love to hear what you guys think the series will do.

    • Paulsen

      I don’t plan to write a post predicting the ratings. Based on the East Finals, one would expect strong numbers, but I’m not sure how the series will do compared to last year.