As you might expect Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals, in which the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA Championship by defeating the Miami Heat 104-87, was a ratings winner.
The game pulled a strong 11.7 overnight rating on ABC, up from last year’s Game Five between the same teams. The broadcast peaked with a 15.1 rating between 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen.
With very little competition Game Five broadcast marked the 42nd consecutive time an NBA Finals game has won the night across all of television, more than doubling its competition. The top local markets for Game Five include San Antonio (42.6), Miami (27.6), Austin (22.0), Oklahoma City (17.7), West Palm Beach (17.1)
It was also a big winner online and via broadband as the ‘second screen,’ was in use last night. NBA Finals Game Five delivered 504,000 unique viewers on ESPN3, an increase of 110 percent from 240,000 unique viewers for Game Five last year.
Here are some post game comments from the gang at NBA-TV, Matt Winer, Rick Fox, Grant Hill, Chris Webber and their guests. (Comments were provided by Turner Sports and NBA-TV)
Kawhi Leonard on improvements to his game: “When I first came in the league, I had to change my jump shot. I had to bring the ball down and that is what I was focused on. Year after year, I had to get comfortable with the players on the team and they just started believing in me. It’s just been a progression for me. I just believed in the hard work that I put in.”
Leonard on the difference between last year and this year’s series: “Last year was very tough. Losing that Game 6, up five with 20 seconds left, we felt like we lost the momentum. And then Miami came out and beat us in Game 7. My focus this year was that I have to do whatever it takes to win so that we don’t have to go back to Miami.”
Leonard on the unity of the Spurs: “Coming into the Spurs I was very excited. They just took me in as a family. Tim [Duncan], Tony [Parker] and Manu [Ginobili] and the rest of the guys believed in me. I took that to heart and started working hard. When I came in they were talking about championships and I was just a rookie so I had to step it up.”
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili on the growth of the Spurs: “We shifted the way we played in the last 10 years. When I got here it was every single possession in the post because that is what gave us the most. In the last two or three years it has been about ball movement and getting everyone involved. We had some pieces that made us shift.”
Spurs forward Tim Duncan on his state of mind from last year’s Finals loss: “It was always in the back of my mind and the forefront of my mind when we played a game. You can’t address it until now. You had to get to the playoffs to start alleviating that. The focus the guys had from Game 1 to every series to playing through all of that…amazing team, amazing response, amazing to play with these guys.”
Duncan and his relationship with Coach Popovich: “He took last year’s loss harder than anyone else. He came back with a fire I hadn’t seen the entire time I’ve been with him. To come into another season and push us that hard just shows the passion and desire he had and it filtered down into all of us.”
Duncan on what this year’s championship means for him: “I appreciate this one more; it means more to me. The loss last year, coming to the end of my career…I appreciate it more for all those reasons.”
Tony Parker on the team’s progression: “I think this is the best basketball – in the past five or six years – that we’ve been playing by far.”
Parker on teammate Boris Diaw: “He’s the ultimate team player. All he cares about is how the team is doing as well as passing and getting a better shot for someone else. I’m so happy that everyone can see that on the big stage and can see what he can do. We dreamed about the NBA when we were 12/13 years old and to win with him is unbelievable.”
Hill on the Spurs: “They are the standard in the NBA and what they have done in this series proves that. What impressed me the most about this series and their season was their formula. They obviously have their Big Three – which are out of their prime – but, collectively as a team, it is not one or two guys carrying the load. It really goes against what the formula has been for the NBA having one or two All-Stars carrying the load. Everyone had a big moment throughout this series. You have to compliment [Gregg] Popovich and [R.C] Buford for establishing that culture.”