ESPN saw excellent viewership for its two NBA Christmas Day 2020 broadcasts.
According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, the first Christmas game between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans averaged 3.495 million viewers. Viewership was up five percent from last year’s Christmas game in the noon slot between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.
The late game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets – a rematch of their thrilling 2019-20 second round playoff series – averaged 2.056 million viewers, per Ourand. This was up an impressive 21 percent from the Pelicans-Nuggets late night slot on Christmas 2019.
The defending Eastern Conference champions, led by Duncan Robinson’s 23 points, got past the Pelicans 111-98. Second-year star Zion Williamson led New Orleans with 32 points to go along with 14 rebounds.
Goran Dragic (18 points), Bam Adebayo (17 points), Avery Bradley (12 points), Tyler Herro (11 points) and Precious Achiuwa (11 points) all reached double-digits for Miami, who picked up their first win of the young season.
The late night game marked the first meeting between the Nuggets and Clippers since Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Denver erased a 3-1 series deficit to upset the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George-led Clippers, which prompted the team to replace head coach Doc Rivers with Tyronn Lue.
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The Clippers got revenge with a 121-108 victory. George led the way with 23 points, five rebounds and nine assists. Leonard picked up 21 points, five rebounds and seven assists to help the Pacers move to 2-0 on the year.
Denver’s two stars, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, combined for 47 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
Entering play on Tuesday, the Pelicans and Clippers are tied with eight teams for the best record in the Western Conference at 2-1 The Heat sit at 1-1, while the Nuggets are off to a slow 1-2 start. Of course, it’s very early in the season, and a lot is sure to change in the coming weeks.
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