TV Ratings: Nuggets-Clippers Game 7 pulls in 5.2 million viewers

Sam Amico

It pays for the NBA not to have to go head-to-head with the NFL, and nowhere was that more clear than the series featuring the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

As relayed by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Game 7 of the Nuggets-Clippers Western Conference semifinal on ESPN drew 5.2 million viewers. That was a massive increase over Game 6, which finished at just 1.3 million.

Of course, Game 6 was held at 1 p.m. EST (or 10 a.m. in Los Angeles) on Sunday, which pitted it directly in competition with the first weekend of the NFL season. Almost no one fares well against the NFL, and the NBA is no exception.

While the Nuggets-Clippers on ESPN garnered a little more than a million eyeballs Sunday, the NFL pulled in a combined 27 million on the CBS and FOX networks.

But hey, Monday can be considered a major success for the NBA, as ESPN also drew 4.0 million viewers for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, per Ourand.

Overall, the NBA appears to be trending in the right direction after it was revealed that first-round ratings dropped 27 percent since last season, and 40 percent from two years ago.

And even the league's best numbers this season don't really compare to even three years ago, when playoff Game 1s were often bringing in around 7 or 8 million viewers, and Game 7s more than that.

As for today, the Nuggets won't be as big of a draw as the Clippers would have been against LeBron James and the LA Lakers, but this much is for certain -- more people have been tuning in to the NBA as the stakes have gotten higher.

And for the first time all season, including before the hiatus, the league is generating enough interest to puff out its chest from time to time.