NBA Finals Draw Best-Yet 20 Million Viewers Sunday for Game 5

nba finals cavs warriors ratings
Courtesy of Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

UPDATE: ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals hit yet another high on Sunday as this year’s pro basketball championship round continues to track as the highest-rated in more than a decade.

Sunday’s Game 5 averaged 20.51 million viewers, according to updated Nielsen estimates, a 15% jump above last year’s 17.86 million for the fifth game between Miami and San Antonio. The series through five games was averaging 19.21 million, which is up 25% from last year (15.37 million).

EARLIER: In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the Golden State Warriors’ 104-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged a 14.2 household rating — up from Thursday’s previous series high of 13.9 and 21% better than last year’s fifth and final game in the Miami-San Antonio series (11.7). Thursday’s Game 4 ended up averaging a 7.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 19.84 million viewers overall, so last night’s contest should be able to surpass the 20-million mark.

Game 6 of the series will be played Tuesday night in Cleveland. The most recent series that went at least six games, in 2013 between San Antonio and Miami, drew 20.6 million for Game 6 and then surged above 26 million for Game 7. Two years earlier, the six-game Dallas-Miami series attracted 23.9 million for the series-clinching contest.

Elsewhere, ratings for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” season finale weren’t available early Monday but will be released either later today or tomorrow. And on the broadcast side, ABC had little competition as CBS, NBC and Fox battled for crumbs.

NBC’s all-original lineup tied with Fox’s most-repeat lineup for runner-up among the Big Four in adults 18-49. The Peacock followed its 7 p.m. “Dateline” (0.8 rating/3 share in adults 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) with the second week of the limited-run “Dateline: My Kid Would Never Do That” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), which was the net’s top show of the night. It was followed by dramas “A.D. The Bible Continues” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), which held steady, and “American Odyssey” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall), which edged up from last week.

Fox aired encores of “Bob’s Burgers” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall at 7 p.m., and 0.6/2 and 1.5 million at 7:30 p.m.), “The Simpsons” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall). Its lone original, “Golan the Insatiable” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last week.

CBS went with “60 Minutes” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall), the night’s most-watched broadcast series, followed by encores of “Madam Secretary” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), “The Good Wife” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall).

Sundays could get more interesting starting next week when ABC premieres two new series, “Celebrity Family Feud” and “Battlebots.” CBS’ Sunday summer stalwart “Big Brother” returns one week later.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.4/18; NBC and Fox, 0.7/2; CBS, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 14.9 million; CBS, 4.8 million; NBC, 3.7 million; Fox, 1.6 million.

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  1. Game six on Tuesday is in Cleveland

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