NBA Finals hit 5-year ratings high

NBA Finals continue to dominate primetime ratings

The NBA Finals soared to five-year ratings highs Sunday for ABC.

Although the Tony Awards and the NBA Finals may not share a whole lot of the same audience, some Broadway fans likely were drawn to the action on the hardwood Sunday, as the underdog Boston Celtics beat the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 in a telecast that went head-to-head with CBS’ Tonycast.

Time zone-adjusted preliminary Nielsens show the game earned a 7.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 18.2 million viewers overall — the best numbers for any NBA Finals contest since the seventh and final game of the 2005 Detroit-San Antonio series in 2005.

Based on five-game averages, the 2010 NBA Finals continues to rack up the highest numbers in six years (Lakers-Detroit). But if the Lakers win tonight to force a Game 7, this year’s Lakers-Celtics clincher would likely draw the top basketball Nielsens since Michael Jordan’s final championship appearance with the Chicago Bulls in 1998.

The action-packed Sunday included the third-season bow of HBO’s “True Blood” (ratings for that show won’t be available until today).

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