The 11.8 overnight rating for Sunday’s Game 2 of the Golden State Warriors – Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals matchup is down a bit from the ABC-record 13.1 overnight rating for Game 1, but it’s still a strong result compared to historical NBA on ABC ratings. The 11.8 is tied for the third-best NBA Finals Game 2 rating on ABC, which certainly isn’t bad (it’s also notable how that’s ahead of the 11.2 record cable audience for Game 7 of this year’s Golden State-Oklahoma City series, further reinforcing how broadcast still has a leg up on cable), and the 12.4 average of the Game 1 and 2 ratings is the second-best through two games in NBA on ABC history. The streaming numbers were pretty good again, too; Game 1 was the most-watched NBA game ever on WatchESPN, and Game 2 was the third-most watched NBA game ever on the service, with 875,000 unique viewers and an average minute audience of 267,000 (down from 1 million and 347,000 respectively in Game 1).
Why were the numbers down a bit for Game 2? Well, part of it is probably the lopsided nature of the result. Yes, the Warriors’ 104-89 Game 1 victory wasn’t particularly close either, but it was at times, and a 15-point margin isn’t the worst in the world. Golden State was even more dominant Sunday, though, and the 110-77 win they pulled off was a 33-point margin of victory, the highest ever for Game 2 of a NBA Finals. That may have led to Cavaliers’ fans in particular exiting early; it’s notable that Cleveland still tied for the best local rating here (with San Francisco) with a 32.1, but that was well below the 36.0 it posted in Game 1, while San Francisco’s drop-off was more gradual (32.8 to 32.1). There was also strong competition Sunday night, particularly with HBO’s Game of Thrones. Still, this is a pretty good rating for ABC, albeit not a record one, and it has them in position to have a strong Finals. They’ll be likely hoping the Cavaliers can be more competitive when the series heads to Cleveland Wednesday. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. Eastern.