Rallies rate well for NBA

Lakers, Celtics wins help hoops numbers rise 14%

Some wild comebacks in competitive series helped boost the ratings for NBC’s coverage of the NBA’s conference finals over the weekend.

According to Nielsen, the net’s quartet of Memorial Day weekend pro basketball playoff games averaged a 7.2 overnight rating/15 share, a 14% increase over last year’s 6.3/13 for the comparable games.

Leading the way was Sunday’s Western Finals Game 4 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings (8.3/18 in overnights), up 32% over last year’s 6.3/14 for the fourth and final contest in the West.

Game, which saw the Lakers rally from a 24-point deficit and win on a last-second shot, generated an 18.0/40 in Los Angeles.

Friday’s Game 3 in the West did an 8.1/14 (up 13% year-to-year).

In the East, the Boston Celtics’ 21-point fourth-quarter rally against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday produced a 5.4/12 (up 2% from last year’s Philadelphia-Milwaukee series), while Monday’s narrow Nets victory generated a 6.9/14 (up 5%).

Both of the conference finals were tied at two games apiece, meaning that the best-of-seven series will be extended to at least six games. The NBA Finals will start Wednesday, June 5, on NBC.

In other sports ratings over the weekend, ABC’s Indianapolis 500 on Sunday delivered a 5.3/14 in overnights (down 9% year-to-year), while the same net’s NHL conference final matchup on Saturday (Colorado-Detroit) netted a 2.2/6 (up 29% vs. last year’s comparable game).

Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, which ran until 10:15 p.m. in the East, did a 4.8/10 in overnights (down 2% from last year’s primetime race).

NBC’s inaugural WNBA game of the season on Saturday (New York-Los Angeles) delivered a 1.4/4, down 22% from last year’s 1.8/4 for the season premiere on Memorial Day (Los Angeles-Houston).