After several blowouts, Game 6 of this year's NBA Finals finally delivered a classic.  And not just any classic, many who follow the NBA were calling this game one of the best in NBA history.  The Heat defeated the Spurs in overtime to force a Game 7 thanks to in no particular order: LeBron James ditching his headband and finding super powers, Mike Miller's missing shoe, the refs, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh's defense, Gregg Popovich sitting Tim Duncan, missed Spurs FTs, the release of bad karma from front-running Heat fans leaving early.

With what could best be described as middling ratings for Game 1-5, the epic Game 6 saw ratings go way up and scored a 14.7 overnight rating, the second best Game 6 for ABC.  Here's more from ESPN

"NBA Finals Game 6 on ABC – the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs to even the series in an overtime thriller – scored a 14.7 overnight rating, according to Nielsen. This is the second highest-rated NBA Finals Game 6 ever on ABC and the fourth highest rated game ever on the network.

Game 6 is also expected to mark the 36th consecutive time an NBA Finals telecast has won the night for all of television and is the 24th straight time it has delivered double-digit overnight ratings. The game peaked at a 19.8 rating from 11:45 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET."

Last night’s game trails only Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers Game 7 in 2010 (18.2), Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons Game 5 in 2004 (15.5) and Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks Game 6 in 2011 (15.0).  

Could Miami-San Antonio possibly surpass Celtics-Lakers Game 7 in 2010?  If we get another overtime thriller, it's certainly within the realm of possibility.  So far it's been easy to blame the Spurs for NBA Finals ratings being a bit of a disappointment because they've never been able to draw casual fans nationally.  (And they hold the dubious distinction for appearing in the three lowest rated Finals since 1982.)

However, I tend to believe the lack of close games have led to ratings being down a tick because most people have been turning the channel staring at double digit games in the 4th quarter.  Now that the series finally got a close game (and an all-time classic at that) the viewership numbers the NBA was hoping for all along were there.  Now with the nation buzzing about a Game 7 that hopes to be a quarter as good as Game 6 was, the rating should be huge Thursday night.

This is the one NBA game that could define a generation.  The most consistent, underappreciated dynasty in modern sports going for their fifth title up against the league's greatest superstar looking for his second straight championship.  What more could you ask for than that?


About Matt Yoder

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