The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 103-100 in their Western Conference play-in game Wednesday night. The highly-anticipated matchup between LeBron James and Stephen Curry also drew huge ratings despite a 10 p.m. ET tip-off.
The game had an average of 5.618 million viewers, peaking at 6.149 million from 12:30 to 1 a.m. ET. ESPN's Ben Cafardo revealed it was the most-watched NBA game on ESPN since the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
Perhaps most importantly, it was a great game. The Warriors took a big lead early, while James and the Lakers made a furious charge to win it late. It was highly-competitive, up-tempo and a classic showdown between two multi-time MVP winners. James finished with a triple-double (22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists), while Curry was brilliant, with a game-high 37 points and six three-pointers.
It was the kind of game you knew would be good going in and then lived up to every bit of the hype. James and Curry always deliver, which is why ratings were so high despite the crazy-late tip-off time for East Coast viewers.
The NBA has to be hoping both the Warriors and Lakers go on a run in the postseason. Golden State has to beat the Memphis Grizzlies to earn the eight seed, while LA will face the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Both teams played pretty well down the stretch and look to be at their best right now. Could we see them meet again? The networks have to be hoping for it.