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NBA Playoffs: Heat/Bulls Game 1 the most-viewed basketball game in cable history

C.J. Watson, LeBron James

Chicago Bulls point guard C.J. Watson, left, blocks the shot of Miami Heat small forward LeBron James during the second quarter in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals basketball series Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Chicago. The Bulls won 103-82. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


In case you haven’t figured it out by now, when the Heat play, people watch. Maybe they’re watching to see them win, maybe they’re watching out of curiosity, or maybe they’re watching in hopes that they’ll get their butts kicked like they did on Sunday night.

Either way, people have been watching, and the Heat have been setting huge television ratings all year long. Combining the Heat with the Bulls, who had the greatest NBA dynasty of the modern era and have some of the most passionate sports fans in America, led to some record ratings on Sunday night:

The Chicago Bulls were even more dominant on TV than they were on the court Sunday night against the Miami Heat in the opener of NBA Eastern Conference finals playoff series.

National numbers released Monday showed the Bulls’ ‘103-82 rout on TNT to be the most-viewed basketball game in cable history, with more than 11.109 million total viewers and a 6.2 overall household rating. The previous record was the 10.829 million viewers for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, which was Michael Jordan’s final appearance in the mid-season exhibition.

Ratings were especially good in Chicago, where the game drew a monster 24.3 average rating, just edging out the 23.3 rating the game drew in Miami.