TNT earned a 6.5 overnight Nielsen rating for Heat-Pacers NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 last night, giving the net TV's highest-rated primetime program of the night (broadcast or cable). TNT has now had the highest-rated program on each night it has aired a game from the Heat-Pacers series. Last night's game earned a 26.2 local rating in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market and a 21.7 rating in Indianapolis. Through four games, TNT is averaging a 6.0 overnight rating, up 13% compared to the first four games of the net's Thunder-Spurs Western Conference Finals last year. Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 4.1 overnight for the series-clinching Spurs-Grizzlies Game 4 on Monday night (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
POP ROCK: In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote Spurs coach Gregg Popovich "regularly acts like a first-class crab when doing in-game interviews." During Game 3, ESPN's Doris Burke "asked two good questions -- one about his offense, another about his defense -- and the answer to both was: 'Turnovers.'" Jones: "That was it. Look, we all realize that these in-game interviews are often a waste of time and coaches are busy. But, occasionally, they do offer insight. Even if they don't, how come Popovich is incapable of being respectful to a sideline reporter doing his or her job?" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/27). Yahoo Sports Radio's Sean Pendergast wrote Popovich is "exposing the ludicrousness of an exercise that should have had a figurative bullet put in it long ago." Interviewing coaches either during the game or during "a brief timeout in between quarters flies in the face of logic." It is "as stupid as interviewing a player on his way to the free throw line after drawing a foul" (HOUSTONPRESS.com, 5/27).
WELL ROUNDED: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Tim Baysinger noted this will be ABC/ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen's "eighth time calling the NBA's title round." Fans in N.Y. get a "double-dose" of Breen, as he was "behind the mic" for Knicks telecasts on MSG Net. Breen said of the difference between calling a national game as opposed to a local contest, "It's more of just being in tune with the audience. It's more of a difference in terms of how much attention you pay (to the teams)." Baysinger notes some might find it difficult to juggle broadcasting two different types of audiences. But Breen said that he "benefits from covering the NBA's other 29 teams as well as the Knicks." Breen: "It might be (an opponent's) first time playing against the Knicks, but I may have done three games (with) them already. In terms of preparation -- knowing teams, knowing players and knowing coaches -- it's a big benefit" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 5/27 issue).
BRINGING THE HEAT: SI.com's Ben Golliver noted Pacers radio play-by-play broadcaster Mark Boyle on Friday "ripped the Heat’s fans for not staying all the way through to the bitter end" of Game 2 of their series. Boyle said, "We are literally sitting in the crowd here. These losers are leaving. They are flocking to the exits with their team down by three. This city does not only not deserve this team, they don’t deserve any team." Boyle posted a response on Twitter "after receiving criticism over his comments about the Heat’s fans." He wrote, "It appears they don’t like me in Miami. Ouch." Boyle’s comments were "apparently made just after George Hill made the first of two icing free throws with eight seconds remaining in the game." The TV broadcast of the game "confirmed that large sections of the lower bowl began emptying around at that time" (SI.com, 5/25).