The NBA postseason tipped off — sort of — Tuesday on TNT, with the first two of the Covid-shortened season’s games to determine the final playoff teams. And the Turner network had to be happy with the tune-in for the play-ins.
The doubleheader of Eastern Conference games was up by an attention-getting 60% over the network’s regular-season average, TNT said.
The Boston Celtics’ 118-100 win over the Washington Wizards averaged 2.5 million viewers, beating any TNT regular-season telecast since Opening Night just before Christmas. With a 6:30 p.m. ET start time, Indiana Pacers 144-117 pasting of the Charlotte Hornets averaged 1.4 million viewers.
The 2021-only play-in format sees the seventh- and eighth-place teams in each conference play each other, with the winner earns the No. 7 seed. The loser plays the winner of the 9-10 game, and the winner of that game becomes the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. Teams seeded 7 or 8 need to win just one play-in game to advance, while the 9 and 10 seeds must win two.
Tonight’s Western Conference games on ESPN feature the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers hosting the No. 8 Warriors and the No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies at home against the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs. The West’s next game is Friday on ESPN, with the Eastern matchup set for Thursday on TNT.