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Warriors vs. Lakers play-in game drew highest NBA audience on ESPN since 2019

·2 min read
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The Los Angeles Lakers matchup against the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament for the seventh seed exceeded expectations.

The game’s magnitude intensified with LeBron James and Stephen Curry preparing to duel each other in a game with massive playoff implications, and the atmosphere throughout the game resembled a typical playoff feeling.

Curry led an undermanned Warriors squad with 37 points, including a blistering 6-of-9 clip from 3-point range. James, despite a sluggish first half, answered the call in the second half, finishing the game with a 22-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double.

The game came down to the final minute of the fourth quarter, when James unleashed a deep 3-pointer over Curry to win the game, which earned praise from Curry after the contest.

The matchup captivated the NBA spectrum, and according to Ben Cafardo of ESPN, the game drew the highest audience of any NBA game on ESPN since the 2019 Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers.

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The ratings also surpassed the play-in game from the 2020 Orlando Bubble between the then eight-seeded Trail Blazers and the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, who faced off for the eighth seed in a different format.

The Lakers and Warriors weren’t expected to be involved in the play-in tournament this season, but unfortunate injuries to both teams throughout the season saw them wind up as the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.

Still, millions of fans got to witness a classic that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.