NBA Playoffs: First Round Concludes With Solid Numbers on ESPN, TNT


The first round of the NBA Playoffs ended with solid — though not exactly spectacular — numbers on ESPN and TNT.

Game 7 of the Bulls/Nets first round NBA playoff series drew 4.4 million viewers on TNT Saturday night, up 4% from Sixers/Celtics Game 1 in the same timeslot last year (4.3M). The game ranks as the least-viewed NBA Game 7 since Bucks/Hawks on ABC in 2010 (3.1M).

Last year, Nuggets/Lakers Game 7 drew 6.5 million viewers on TNT and Clippers/Grizzlies Game 7 drew 4.7 million on ABC.

Despite the relatively low numbers, Bulls/Nets Game 7 ranked as the third-most viewed first round game on cable, trailing only Bucks/Heat Game 1 (4.9M) and Rockets/Thunder Game 5 (4.5M).

On Friday night, Thunder/Rockets Game 6 drew 4.0 million viewers on ESPN — up 5% from Grizzlies/Clippers Game 6 last year (3.8M), but down 4% from Spurs/Grizzlies Game 6 in 2011 (4.2M).

Keep in mind that Thunder/Rockets aired directly opposite Game 6 of the Clippers/Grizzlies series on ESPN2 (1.6M). Together, the two games combined for approximately 5.6 million viewers in the late window Friday night.

Earlier in the night, Game 6 between the Knicks and Celtics drew 3.5 million viewers on ESPN, while the concurrent Pacers/Hawks Game 6 drew just 644,000 on ESPN2. Pacers/Hawks ranks as easily the least-viewed playoff game of the year on ESPN/ESPN2, TNT or ABC.

Together, the early games combined for approximately 4.2 million viewers.

(Fri. numbers from The Futon Critic, Sat. numbers from TV By the Numbers)