ABC’s Pacers-Knicks Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1 led all NBA telecasts over the weekend with a 4.9 overnight Nielsen rating, down 6% from the comparable Heat-Pacers Game 1 last year. The game earned a 9.1 local rating in N.Y., which is the best figure for an NBA Playoff game in the market ever on ABC, excluding the NBA Finals. ABC also earned a 3.8 for Grizzlies-Thunder Western Conference Semifinals Game 1 in the early window on Sunday. There was no comparable semifinal game last year, but Game 7 of the Grizzlies-Clippers First Round series also drew a 3.8 rating in the window. Among the four series-clinching first round games on Friday night, Thunder-Rockets Game 6 on ESPN topped all telecasts with a 3.2 overnight, up 10% from Grizzlies-Clippers Game 6 last year. In ESPN’s early window on Friday night, the net drew a 2.9 for Knicks-Celtics Game 6. There was no corresponding game last season. ESPN2 also aired two games on Friday night, drawing a 1.3 overnight for Grizzlies-Clippers Game 6 and a 0.5 overnight for Pacers-Hawks Game Six (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).WARRIOR DASH: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area earned a 6.31 local rating in the S.F.-San Jose-Oakland market last Thursday for the Warriors' series-clinching Game 6 against the Nuggets in the Western Conference First Round. That figure marked the highest-rated Warriors telecast ever on the net. The previous high was a 5.73 rating for a Warriors-Lakers game in '08. CSN Bay Area averaged a 4.74 local rating in the market for the six first round telecasts (CSN Bay Area). Meanwhile, in Oakland, Marcus Thompson II notes Spurs-Warriors Western Conference Semifinal Game 4 will air Sunday at 3:30pm ET on ABC. The "last time the Warriors played on a major network was April 6, 2008, when ABC carried their game against" the Hornets. It is a "coveted slot usually reserved for the NBA's showcase teams," such as the Lakers and Heat. On average, the NBA "gets about double the viewers on ABC that it does on TNT or ESPN" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 5/6).
BEST IN THE BUSINESS: SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch wrote ESPN's Mike Breen is the "best broadcaster working right now." The "key to Breen is he is always forceful without forcing it." He hits "all the big moments in a broadcast without owning them." He is, "in the purest sense, a describer." He "doesn't try to paint some poetic picture or conjure up anything. He just tells you what's going on in the plainest possible sense" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 5/3). Meanwhile, in Tampa, Tom Jones writes rumors persist that ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, Breen's broadcast partner, is "at the top of Brooklyn's wish list" to replace interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. Jones writes, "Please, Jeff, don't take that job. Don't take any coaching job. You're the best basketball game analyst on television. We need you on TV" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/6).