NBA playoff TV ratings hit 11-year high heading into Game 1 of the Finals after third-round Lakers-Nuggets series jumped 44 percent from last year’s conference championship
- ABC has the Finals for the 21st straight year after TNT and ESPN aired playoffs
- The Lakers-Nuggets Western Conference Finals was up 44 percent from 2022
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Perhaps due to lengthy playoff runs from large-market teams like the Knicks and Lakers, the ongoing NBA postseason has delivered the league’s highest television ratings in the last 11 years.
The NBA made the announcement on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Eastern Conference-champion Miami Heat and Western Conference-champion Denver Nuggets.
ABC is airing the Finals for the 21st consecutive season, but their sister network ESPN, as well as TNT and NBA TV have all benefitted from the rising tide of league ratings.
By itself, the Western Conference Finals were up 44 percent from last year, which could have to do with the presence of LeBron James’ Lakers, but may also be owed to two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets center.
Jokic will be in action again Thursday night in Denver, where the NBA is hoping to continue its recent success.
Lakers star LeBron James defends Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the conference finals
The Nuggets have cruised to the first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history behind Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP who is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists in the postseason.
In Jokic and Murray (27.7 ppg), the Nuggets have two of the top nine scorers in this postseason. Butler (28.5) is seventh.
The Heat are here for the seventh time, though this is their most surprising trip. Minutes away from missing the playoffs entirely, they went on to become the second No. 8 seed to reach the finals, joining the New York Knicks in 1999.
Miami’s Tyler Herro remains out after breaking his hand in the postseason opener against Milwaukee, but has been working out in hopes of playing in this series.
Interestingly, the Heat haven’t won in Denver since November 30, 2016.
Denver is 8-0 at home in the postseason and has won six straight overall since being tied 2-2 with the Suns.
The Heat, meanwhile, have won Game 1 on the road in all three series thus far.