Remembering When Tim Duncan Dominated the 2003 Finals And No One Watched It
For 11 years, the NBA and NBC enjoyed high Nielsen ratings that made advertisers happy. Then in 2012, NBC had their lowest Finals ratings ever as Shaq and the Lakers steam rolled and swept the New Jersey Nets.
The following year, ABC took over and in their first NBA Finals, they had Nielsen ratings barely above half of what NBC did in the previous few years. The numbers were so bad, the other major networks were getting higher ratings while showing reruns.
Before you blame the John Tesh-less ABC openings, remember NBC’s run ended with a Lakers 3-Peat and ABC unfortunately had to start their run with a San Antonio Spurs vs New Jersey Nets series. A series which lasted 6 games with only 1 team ever breaking the 100 point mark. A series which saw both teams score a combined 153 points in game 4, with neither team breaking the 80 point mark.
To put the interest and ratings into perspective, game 2 had a Nielsen rating of 5.2; Game 7 between the Lakers and Kings in the previous year had a rating of 14.2.
But what most people missed out on during this series was a few monster fantasy games from Tim Duncan. In game 1, the GOAT power forward had 32 points (13 in the 4th), 20 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6 assist and 3 steals while shooting 65%. He followed that game up with 4 impressive double-doubles and then finished off the Nets in game 6 with a near quadruple double: 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 blocks!
Only a 3rd of the amount of people who watched Michael Jordan win his last championship watched this game, but I’m sure the minority who did, will tell you how impressive Duncan was….and how boring the 88-77 victory was.
The ratings would spike the following year as the Lakers made their return to the Finals and remained decent until 2007, when you can guess which team made their return to the Finals.