The Miami Heat's decisive victory over the Indiana Pacers in the seventh and deciding game of their NBA playoff series Monday night on TNT produced the largest audience for a pro basketball game this season -- 11.57 million viewers.
It's also the largest audience ever for an NBA game on TNT, whose history with the league goes back 29 years.
The audience would have been even higher if the defending champs were seriously threatened in the second half, but they ended up winning by 23 to earn a slot in the NBA Finals, which began Thursday on ABC. The previous high was Game 6 of the same Eastern Conference finals series last Thursday, which drew 8.54 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Miami was the top-rated among Nielsen's metered markets, with 31.7% of homes watching. The game earned a 21.9 rating in Indianapolis.
Monday night's game drew the highest same-night adults 18-49 rating (5.1) of any primetime telecast since the April 15 episode of NBC's "The Voice" (5.2). It did a big 7.1 rating in men 18-34, and its 3.7 rating in women 18-34 was bigger than anything else on television on the night; it ranked second to NBC's "The Voice" among women 18-49.
The 11.6 million in total viewers was also the best on Monday, ahead of the 11.3 million for "The Voice."
Hockey's Stanley Cup Playoffs action also aired Monday, with Game 2 of the series between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins averaging a 1.1 rating in 18-49 and 2.6 million viewers overall. Like the basketball game, this one was also lopsided, with the Bruins winning 5-1.