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NBA Playoffs: Heat/Bulls Game 1 the most-viewed basketball game in cable history

May 16, 2011, 6:04 PM EDT

C.J. Watson, LeBron James

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, when the Heat play, people watch. Maybe they’re watching to see them win, maybe they’re watching out of curiosity, or maybe they’re watching in hopes that they’ll get their butts kicked like they did on Sunday night.

Either way, people have been watching, and the Heat have been setting huge television ratings all year long. Combining the Heat with the Bulls, who had the greatest NBA dynasty of the modern era and have some of the most passionate sports fans in America, led to some record ratings on Sunday night:

The Chicago Bulls were even more dominant on TV than they were on the court Sunday night against the Miami Heat in the opener of NBA Eastern Conference finals playoff series.

National numbers released Monday showed the Bulls’ ‘103-82 rout on TNT to be the most-viewed basketball game in cable history, with more than 11.109 million total viewers and a 6.2 overall household rating. The previous record was the 10.829 million viewers for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, which was Michael Jordan’s final appearance in the mid-season exhibition.

Ratings were especially good in Chicago, where the game drew a monster 24.3 average rating, just edging out the 23.3 rating the game drew in Miami.

  1. andrejohnsonforpresident - May 16, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Tuned in for heat vs bulls?? I watch the tnt games specifically for Charles Barkley. That guy is a trip

    • purdueman - May 16, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      I agree with you in that Barkley is hands down THE most entertaining NBA analyst/broadcaster, but unfortunately Sir Charles was equally AWFUL during the NCAA Tournament this year… he came off as a duck totally out of water, not knowing anything about the teams or the players.

      The networks hopefully will realize this and not use Sir Charles again on NCAA Tournament broadcasts; I could have done better and I don’t follow NCAA basketball much until the tournament starts (especially now with so many “one and doners”.

  2. purdueman - May 16, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    I loved Barkley’s comment last night that “Jokim Noah is the only center in the league who can guard anyone, regardless of position.” It’s true too; did you see Noah lead a fast break dribbling almost the length of the floor last night? There isn’t a current NBA center other than Noah that can do that.

    The Bulls defensive “length” (the latest hot new sports term), and depth in the front court give the Heat fits and they have no answer for that. That and totally dominating the boards because of it are why I think that the Bulls will take the Heat out in six.

    • hnirobert3 - May 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM

      Nene has good ball handling skills as well. Moving on.

    • philtration - May 17, 2011 at 9:06 PM

      Noah is a lot stronger then he used to be as well.
      He got pushed around by the Celtics in the 2009 playoffs and he knew it so he has worked really hard on that side of his game.

      I love the Bulls front court.

  3. southbeachtalent - May 17, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    The HEATLES!!

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