Two big pieces of NBA viewership news happened over the last week, one more positive for the NBA than the other. We’ll start with the bad, in reference to the SBJ findings, and end on the good. This SBJ paragraph offers a good summation of the 2020-2021 RSN ratings picture overall: “The local numbers show some signs of concern, as they have posted decreases for four of the past five seasons, according to Broughton’s research. Numbers are also down three straight seasons and down 30 percent since the 2015-16 season.” Of the 28 NBA teams tracked in 2020-21, 15 declined by double digits. That’s not a majority of teams declining. That’s a majority declining by 10 percent or more. Caveats abound when we discuss the pandemic season, but the issue, as researcher Broughton puts it, is the trend that predates it. As he told me over the phone, “When you see that almost a third of the league see two straight years of significant declines, something’s up.”
May 15, 2022 | 11:05 pm EDT Update
Gerald Bourguet: Chris Paul on this possibly being his best shot at a title: “They said that last year. They probably said it back in ’08. Every time you lose, they’re gonna say it’s your best chance…but we’ll be back next year. I ain’t retiring tomorrow, thank God.”
Marc J. Spears: Suns point guard Chris Paul limped out of the arena with a very slow walk. @andscape learned that Paul had a left quad injury. When asked about his quad injury, Paul declined comment.
Gerald Bourguet: “His contract situation is between him and the front office. I care about him as a brother. Just making sure his mental is right…whatever happens, happens. Kind of hard to look so far in the future.” – Devin Booker on Deandre Ayton’s contract situation
“Giannis is the best player in the world. You can see why a lot of people say that,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. “He’s just relentless in his approach. He is aggressive all the time. He’s not going to be denied. And that was tough for us in the series.” Antetokounmpo finished the semifinals with back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games. He had 44 points and 20 rebounds in Game 6, and 25 points and 20 rebounds with 9 assists in Game 7. And they were both losses. Antetokounmpo joined Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to lose consecutive postseason games with a 20-20, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Antetokounmpo started off hot on Sunday, going 6-for-10 in the first half for 17 points before he appeared to get fatigued while struggling down the stretch. He shot just 4 of 16 in the second half with 8 points as the Celtics pulled away after halftime. “Legs heavy. Body heavy. Mind heavy. Everything was heavy,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile after the game. “I was just trying to be aggressive. At the end of the day, it’s Game 7 and I’m not going to hold the ball and not look at the rim, I’d rather miss a bunch of shots and keep playing and keep coming and keep being aggressive. Keep looking for my teammates and keep making the right plays then go in passive mode. I can live with that.”