Ratings for the Miami Heat's Game 3 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night were the highest of the 2011 NBA Finals to date, and according to an ESPN press release were the second-highest for a Game 3 since 2004. ESPN reports that Game 3, which featured a Mavericks comeback led by (who else?) Dirk Nowitzki but saw Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh batten the hatches, did an overnight rating of 11.1, best on all of television on Sunday.
That figured trailed Game 3 last year between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. The 2011 Finals had beaten 2010's efforts in each of the first two games. The 2001 Finals between the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers and the 2004 Finals between the Lakers and Detroit Pistons remain the highest-rated post-Jordan Finals; the 2011 Finals look to exceed the 2010 championship series, but may not catch 2001 or 2004.
What's not in question is that the 2011 Finals are blowing away the 2006 Dallas-Miami series in the Nielsens. ESPN reported that Sunday's game was up 23 percent from 2006's Game 3, which featured an improbable Heat comeback led by Wade. Miami went on to win four straight games and the championship.