ESPN's Heat-Bulls Game 3 Tops Overnight Ratings For Weekend NBA Playoff Games
ESPN's Heat-Bulls Game 3 on Friday night led all weekend NBA Playoff games with a 5.2 overnight Nielsen rating. In the late window on Friday night, ESPN drew a 4.7 overnight for Spurs-Warriors Game 3. Both telecasts rank in the top 10 all-time among NBA Conference Semifinal games on the net. For the Spurs-Warriors game, ESPN drew an 11.1 local rating in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose, which is the highest-rated NBA Playoff game ever in the market for ESPN. On Saturday afternoon, ESPN drew a 2.7 overnight for Thunder-Grizzlies Game 3. Meanwhile, ABC drew a 4.3 overnight for Knicks-Pacers Game 3 on Saturday night. The game drew a 9.7 local rating in N.Y., marking the best NBA Playoff telecast (non-Finals) on any net since ABC/ESPN acquired NBA rights in '03. ABC's Spurs-Warriors Game 4 on Sunday afternoon drew a 4.1 overnight (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
THE HEAT IS ON: N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said the Heat are like the Yankees in that they are not "just the team to beat, they’re the team to watch." Lupica: "They don’t just have the biggest star in LeBron, they’re also the star team." The Bulls trail the Heat 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series heading into tonight's Game 4 and they "can still win this series,” but a Bulls series victory “would only hurt their sport because basketball is a lot more interesting when LeBron and friends are playing" ("The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 5/12).
JACK OF ALL TRADES: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote if this is the "end of the broadcasting road" for ESPN Radio NBA analyst and Basketball HOFer Jack Ramsay, who on Thursday announced his career is likely over, his "mark on listeners won't soon be forgotten." He partnered with the late Jim Durham on ESPN Radio to "create one of the NBA's legendary soundtracks." ESPN's Mike Breen said of Ramsay and Durham, "They were such a pair, on and off the air. I think this was a really hard year for Jack." He added, "To hear that he had actually had to give up the games, I knew something was wrong. For any of us who know him, it is upsetting. I know how much he loves the game. At 88 years old, he still gets fired up before games" (SI.com, 5/12).