The wildly entertaining start to this year’s NBA Playoffs brought smiles to the execs at TNT, reports Sports Media Watch: “TNT averaged a 2.8 U.S. rating and 4.542 million viewers for NBA Playoff coverage on Sunday, up 27% in ratings and 36% in viewership from last year (2.2, 3.336M), and the most-viewed opening day of the playoffs ever on Turner Sports. In particular, Sunday’s Knicks/Celtics Game 1 drew a 3.6 U.S. rating and 5.989 million viewers, up 44% in ratings and 53% in viewership from last year (SA/DAL G1: 2.5, 3.925M), and up 64% and 86%, respectively, from 2009 (MIA/ATL G1: 2.2, 3.228M). The Celtics’ win drew more viewers than every single first round playoff game — on broadcast or cable — last season. In addition, the game ranks as the second-most viewed first round game ever on cable, behind only Bulls/Celtics Game 7 in 2009 (6.987M). The previous second-ranked game was Celtics/Bulls Game 6 in 2009 (5.352M). Later in the night, Game 1 between the Nuggets and Thunder drew a 3.1 and 5.038 million viewers, up 55% in ratings and 69% in viewership from last year (POR/PHX G1: 2.0, 2.988M), and up 55% and 83%, respectively, from 2009 (NO/DEN: 2.0, 2.756M). Though it did not receive as much hype as Knicks/Celtics, Nuggets/Thunder drew more viewers than every single first round game on cable last year.”
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