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Nets-Celtics highest rated first round game since 2016, and highest rated game of season

2022 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets keep putting numbers on the board, including in national TV ratings.

Tuesday, the NBA disclosed that the Nets-Celtics game Sunday afternoon pulled in an average of 6.8 million viewers.

That’s not only the highest rating for a first round playoff game since 2016. It’s also the biggest for an opening weekend game since 2002 and the most watched game, regular season or playoffs, this season. It topped the 5.8 million who viewed the Nets buzzer beater over the Lakers on Christmas Day.

Here’s how Sports Media Watch described the bombshell ratings...

Sunday’s Nets-Celtics Game 1 led the way with a 3.1 rating and 6.90 million viewers on ABC, the most-watched opening weekend game in 20 years (2002 Trail Blazers-Lakers: 8.37M) and the most-watched first round game overall in six (2016 Warriors-Rockets: 7.24M).

Boston’s thrilling win, which peaked with 9.8 million viewers, jumped 30% in ratings and as much as 56% in viewership from Lakers-Suns in the same window last year (2.4, 4.44M*). Last year’s postseason began in late May.

Compared to the previous postseason to begin in April — 2019 — ratings jumped 21% and viewership 77% from Thunder-Blazers on Masters Sunday (2.55, 3.90M).

Here’s their graphic showing the most watched first round games in the past 20 years...

The game was also telecast locally on the YES Network.

Nationally, the Nets keep putting up big numbers as well as record ratings on YES. Seven of the 25 biggest national TV audiences have featured the Nets.