NBA Finals Game 2 bounces back, ekes out five-year high

NBA Finals Game 2 bounces back, ekes out five-year high

Buoyed by a closer margin, Game 2 of the NBA Finals eked out an increase over the past two years and hit a five-year high.

Sunday’s Mavericks-Celtics NBA Finals Game 2 averaged 12.06 million viewers on ABC, per Nielsen fast-nationals — making it the most-watched Game 2 of the Finals since Warriors-Raptors in 2019 (13.89M). Ratings were not immediately available.

The Celtics’ win, which peaked with 14.11 million in the 10 PM ET quarter-hour, increased 1% from both Heat-Nuggets last year (11.91M) and Celtics-Warriors in 2022 (11.91M).

It took last year’s Finals until the clinching Game 5 before any game hit the 12 million mark. The 2022 Finals, a higher-profile series that featured Stephen Curry and the Warriors, did not hit the 12 million mark until Game 4.

Game 2, which was close in the final minutes, increased 10% over Thursday’s Game 1. Notably, the Game 2 peak was not only later than in Game 1 — which peaked in the first half — it was higher by 16% (vs. 12.11M).

Overall, Game 2 tied the fifth-largest NBA audience since the league went on hiatus nearly four years ago — trailing Games 5 and 6 of the 2022 series, last year’s Game 5 clincher and the clinching Game 6 in 2021.

It should be noted that prior to the COVID hiatus, 12 million would have been considered low for the Finals. Every Finals game from 2008-19 averaged more viewers than Game 2.

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