NBA playoffs on NBC up over year-ago numbers

HOLLYWOOD — NBC’s coverage of the National Basketball Assn. playoffs has gotten off to an encouraging start, with Sunday’s tripleheader faring better than the opening Sunday of a year ago.

According to overnight ratings released by Nielsen, Sunday’s games averaged a 6.3 rating, up 7% from the first Sunday of the 1999 playoffs (5.9). The contest between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers, which ran into primetime in most of the country, led the way with a 7.3 overnight rating (up slightly from the 7.2 for last year’s Lakers-Rockets opener).

Saturday’s tripleheader averaged a 4.4, down a bit from last year’s 4.6. The combined overnight rating for the first two days was a 5.3, the same as a year ago.

NBC’s basketball ratings have been down this year, and the weekend’s playoff openers give the net reason for optimism, especially since Sunday was Easter, traditionally a day when numbers for homes using television are lower than an average Sunday for this time of year.

Playoff action continues during the week on cable’s TNT and TBS before resuming on NBC next Saturday.

In primetime Sunday, ABC’s claymation “The Miracle Maker” scored well among adults 18-49, winning its two-hour timeslot with a 4.2/13, according to prelim Nielsen results. In total viewers, its 11.5 million placed second to CBS (15.2 million). For the night, ABC topped CBS by 5 shares in both homes and adults 18-49.

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