Going by the numbers, as released by ESPN, the highly-anticipated clash between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors lived up to its billing.
The contest, headlined by the head-to-head matchup of LeBron James and Stephen Curry after their multiple previous battles in the NBA Finals, went down to its final minute.
It was finally decided by the mere margin of three points (103-100) in favour of the defending champions.
ALL-ANGLES of @KingJames' LONG DISTANCE GAME-WINNER! 🔥🤯@Lakers will be the West #7 seed in the #NBAPlayoffs and face #2 PHX in the First Round (Game 1 Sunday, 3:30pm/et on ABC) pic.twitter.com/CpEtashUc2- NBA (@NBA) May 20, 2021
Easily one of the best games of the year, here's how a look at the number of eyeballs generated and how it stacked up historically:
- The exclusive telecast of the game on ESPN generated 5,618,000 viewers, the most for an NBA game on ESPN since the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
- The viewership of the game peaked between 12:30-1 a.m. ET (May 21) with 6,149,000 viewers.
- This Lakers-Warriors game, considered an 'instant classic', was up 190 percent on the single Play-In game played last year when the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 126-122.
- All of the above numbers also made this matchup the second-most-watched game of the 2020-21 NBA season so far across all networks, only trailing the Christmas Day matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks which was telecast on ABC and ESPN.
The Lakers and Warriors game was the second of a double-header on ESPN on Wednesday night (ET) and the earlier contest between the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and tenth-seeded San Antonio Spurs also brought in the numbers.
It delivered an average audience of 2,293,000 viewers, making it the third-most watched game on ESPN this season.
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