The NBA Finals posted a 10.4 overnight rating for Game 3 between the Heat and the Thunder, and the current series is the highest rated matchup the league has seen since 2004.
The numbers come per Scott Issacs, who also reports that there were "monster" numbers in Oklahoma City. And while Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch adds that the numbers were down slightly from Game 3 in 2011, the series numbers remain up overall. For some perspective on Sunday's numbers, the NBA Finals was going head to head with the U.S. Open Sunday night, and beat the golf on NBC by four percentage points.
And for a league just six months removed from a lockout that threatened its popularity and almost sabotaged the season entirely, bouncing back with another outstanding postseason is a major coup.
As LeBron James told Chris Tomasson this week, "I've seen some of the ratings, so that shows the excitement around the game of basketball, shows the excitement around the two teams, and what these two teams have to offer. You have some great story lines and some individual plays. I think it's been great.'' Now, as the series gets tight and TV lineups get slow, "great" should only better.