It may have felt a bit too close to call up until the final minutes, but in the end the Golden State Warriors continued with tradition last night and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio to take a 3-0 series lead in the the 2018 NBA Finals.
The continuation of course for the Warriors’ 110-102 victory in primetime comes from last year, when LeBron James and crew were also denied in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals after suffering back-to-back losses. In what was then the teams’ third consecutive NBA Finals, the Cavs went on to triumph in Game 4 before being shut down in Game 5 in Oakland.
With a 12.7 in metered market results, last night’s exhilarating Game 3 dipped just 5% and was pretty steady from the comparable matchup last year. That 118-1113 June 7, 2017 face-off in Cleveland went on to pull in 20 million viewers, the second most-watched game of the series after the decisive Game 5.
According to Nielsen, last night’s Game 3 peaked with a 15.4 rating right near the end in the 11:15-11:30 PM ET slot. According to anyone who can do math, ABC won the night yet again with the NBA Finals.
Taking a slightly bigger picture perspective, last night’s MM rating is a victory of another sort in line with what we have been seeing this series. It’s actually remarkable in that this is the fourth consecutive time these teams have met in the NBA Finals and no viewer fatigue has set in — and in an environment where almost everyone is taking a ratings hit, including the NFL.
Right now in the early metric, Game 3 is even with June 3’s Warriors-winning Game 2. That 122-103 victory at home hit 18.5 million viewers on ABC in primetime, with a peak of 22.5 million near the end in the 10:15-10:30 PM ET slot.
Where things go Friday night when the Warriors and the Cavs hit the court in Cleveland for Game 4 is TBD, but we know for sure the expectations will be sky high for Kevin Durant after last night’s stunning performance. Reminiscent of last year’s Game 3 effort, Durant scored a playoff career-best 43 points Wednesday to help seal the deal in the minds of many that Golden State will be the ones holding the trophy in the end.
Listen to what the great player had to say after last night’s game here:
— NBA (@NBA) June 7, 2018
Unlike previous nights for this series so far, there were more than straw dogs on the rest of the Big 4 on Wednesday. Fox had MasterChef (0.9/4), NBC aired American Ninja Warrior (1.1/5) and Reverie (0.5/2), and CBS was all encores except for Code Black (0.6/3). Holding up OK considering the hoops competition, they were all down a tenth from the fast affiliates of their NBA-less May 30 shows. On the CW, The Originals (0.2/1) was also down by the same metric from last week.
There is no NBA Finals on tonight, but in Game 5 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Washington Capitals could secure their first title if they beat the Vegas Golden Knights. Up against the return of The Four: Battle for Stardom on Fox, the hockey action hits the ice at 8 PM ET on NBC.