On the verge of their first Larry O’Brien Championship trophy and in front of a roaring hometown crowd back in the 6ix, the Canadian kingpins looked like they had it in the basket Monday. With the return of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors’ lineup proving short-lived with an Achilles injury, Toronto took the lead in the second half and seemed to be minutes away from being the first non-U.S. team to win an NBA title
Then the Warriors decided to show T.O. and the world exactly why they are the reigning champs. In a stunning team effort led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins and a little bit of luck, the Warriors put the brakes on the Raptors with a 106-105 win to force a Game 6 back in the Bay Area on Friday.
For a series that has delivered constantly less than stellar ratings for ABC and the NBA, it also was a win. Up a whooping 37% from June 7’s Game 4, last night’s Game 5 scored a series high with a 13.4/24 in metered market results. That’s a rise of 31% in the early metrics from the previous 2019 series high, June 3’s Barack Obama-attending Game 2.
Now, with the Warriors dynasty sweeping the 2018 NBA Finals against the then-LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, there isn’t really a comparison with last year, which the 2019 NBA Finals has lagged behind double-digits. The 2017 NBA Finals did go to a Game 5, though the league and the Disney-owned net might not be jumping for joy with that comparison.
Next to the deciding Warriors-Cavs Game 5 face-off two years ago, which the Bay Area team won and took the series to collect its second championship, Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals took a 16% dive in metered market ratings.
In the final numbers, last night’s Game 5 had 18.22 million total viewers with a 6.5/30 among adults 18-49. Also a series high, which is all the more remarkable when you consider the record-breaking Canadian audience doesn’t count in Nielsen’s stateside numbers.
The Game 5 of June 12, 2017 went on to snag a huge total viewership of 24.5 million or 34% better than the fifth game of the 2019 NBA Finals.
With ABC clearly having won the night, take a look at how the GSW and Mr. Cousins pulled off the win north of the border last night:
Game 6: Thursday (6/13), 9pm/et, ABC & TSN pic.twitter.com/IBodNHh1ht
— NBA (@NBA) June 11, 2019
As expected, the rest of last night was peppered with encores, as the originals in Monday’s primetime took a hit against the highflying NBA game. Fox’s Beat Shazam (0.6, 2.58M) and So You Think You Can Dance (0.6, 2.48M) were both down a tenth from last week. Coming after a two-hour American Ninja Warrior (0.6/3) repeat, NBC aired a new Dateline (0.6, 3.31M).