ABC last night drew an 11.8 overnight rating for the Cavaliers' 30-point win over the Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. That figure is down 14% from a 13.7 overnight for the same matchup last year (five-point differential), which aired on a Tuesday night. Through three games, the Finals has seen a 26.5 average point differential. The 11.8 is still good enough to mark ABC's third-best overnight for an NBA Finals Game 3 since ESPN acquired NBA rights before the '02-03 season. Last year's telecast remains the net's highest-rated Game 3, while the No. 2 game is a 12.4 overnight in '04 for Pistons-Lakers on a Thursday night. Last night's rating is up 15% from a 10.3 overnight for Spurs-Heat Game 3 in '14. The telecast last night peaked at a 13.4 rating from 10:00-10:15pm ET and is expected to give ABC a primetime win for the 51st straight time that an NBA Finals game has aired on the net. Cleveland-Akron led all markets with a 36.7 local rating, followed by S.F.-San Jose-Oakland with a 30.7 rating. Columbus (17.6), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (16.7) and San Antonio (16.2) rounded out the top five (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
BLOWOUTS AN ABERRATION, HOPEFULLY: Last night's game was the second straight Finals game determined by at least 30 points and the 32nd game this postseason to have at least a 15 point difference. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "I don't know what’s going on. ... We've experienced more blowouts this playoffs than we ever have before, and I can't say I understand why." Silver: "We're not going to do anything about it now, but one of the things we do with our competition committee is we take data, we take analytics just like teams do and we look for trends. So I am sure once the season's over, it is something we'll look at. My sense is though that it is aberrational" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 6/9).
FROM DOWNTOWN, BANG! THE RINGER's Katie Baker profiled ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, who last week received a contract extension. This marks Breen's 11th NBA Finals, and "all of that national airtime is a cushy side-hustle compared to his true labor: being the man burdened with chronicling" the Knicks as their TV play-by-play man. Breen has been "calling Knicks games, first on the radio and now for the MSG Network," since '91. Both of his jobs are "high-wire acts: Being a national NBA broadcaster exposes one to all manner of scrutiny at particularly dramatic moments, while covering the Knicks every day involves avoiding getting fired while telling the truth about a team that has won one playoff series in 16 years." Meanwhile, ESPN's trio of Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson over the years has been, "at its best, illuminating and undermining, jaded and deeply felt, opinionated and deferential." The three "praise and they argue, they are charmed and they remain unconvinced, and -- when the game’s final minutes drag on for forever -- they conjure up small talk like well-meaning strangers." It is the "result of Breen’s early training: good radio that just happens to be on TV" (THERINGER.com, 6/8).
CLOSER TO THE HEART: In Oakland, Chuck Barney profiled ESPN "Coordinating Producer Amina Hussein, who for the second straight year "finds herself working an NBA Finals that involves the Warriors -- the team she held close to her heart as a kid." She said, "I still have to pinch myself. To come back home again for the Finals is just a really amazing, exciting -- even surreal -- time for me." Barney noted before landing at ESPN, Hussein worked for S.F.-based KNBR-AM, "logging many hours at Warriors games." She now produces "NBA Countdown" for ESPN, as well as the halftime show. Hussein admits she "has some difficulty maintaining her 'journalistic integrity' during the NBA Finals and counts on her staff to keep her in check" (EASTBAYTIMES.com, 6/8).