The Boston Celtics knotted up the Eastern Conference Finals with the Miami Heat at two games a piece with an overtime victory in Game 4 in Boston.  Boston led by 14 at the break, but Miami came back to tie the game early in the fourth quarter and the game went back and forth down to the closing minutes, including the mandatory debate regarding LeBron James’ clutchness.  That continued into overtime when James and Paul Pierce fouled out and Boston won 93-91 when Dwyane Wade’s three missed at the horn.  The close game and starpower was a big winner for ESPN and the Association as the overtime game became the highest rated NBA game in cable history with an impressive 7.9 rating.  Via ESPN

Sunday night’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 on ESPN – in which Boston defeated Miami in overtime to even their series 2-2 – delivered a 7.9 overnight rating, the highest ever for an NBA playoff game on cable (records back to 2003), according to Nielsen. The game peaked with a 10.7 rating during overtime.

The 7.9 overnight rating is up 39 percent compared to Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals – Mavericks/Thunder – on ESPN (5.7) and up 30 percent compared to Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals – Magic/Celtics – on ESPN (6.1).

In Boston, the game generated a 20.7 rating, the highest for an NBA playoff game ever in the market. Additionally, the game posted a 19.8 rating in Miami – the third highest rating for an NBA playoff game on ESPN in the market.

The NBA can’t ask for much more from this series, except for maybe having their officials not be one of the major stories.  With the series shifting back to Miami, these numbers should only increase if we get close games as the series continues.  To put the impressive Celtics/Heat number in perspective, Game 4 of Thunder-Spurs drew a 4.9 rating.  Besides Tiger Woods (who shot ratings for The Memorial up 138% on Sunday), there is no athlete/team that moves the needle like the Miami Heat and LeBron James.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.