We two full weekends of NBA scheduling to gauge how the networks — and thus the American viewing public — ranks the marketability of teams and matchups. And the Thunder comes out rather well.
Oklahoma City-Houston is a tough sell against some heavyweight matchups. Celtics-Knickerbockers. Lakers-Spurs. Heat-anybody. Bulls-Nets. But just gauging by the time slots given these matchups, it looks like Thunder-Rockets ranks No. 4 among the eight matchups. Here’s the ranking:
1. New York-Boston: ABC picked up both games — 2 p.m. Saturday for Game 1, noon Sunday for Game 4. No surprise. The Knicks are an interesting team in the nation’s biggest market.
2. Lakers-San Antonio: ABC had Game 1 in the most spotlit time slot, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. TNT shows Game 4 in another excellent time slot, 6 p.m. Sunday.
3. Miami-Milwaukee: The reverse of Lakers-Spurs — Game 1 was 6 p.m. Sunday on TNT, Game 4 is 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
4. Oklahoma City-Houston: Thunder-Rockets is the only series without a weekend day game, which is a sign of respect. ABC didn’t bite on the Thunder with one of its three picks, but still. 8:30 p.m. Sunday for Game 1 was a good time slot. 8:30 p.m. Saturday is not as good but still is better than earlier in the day Saturday, which has much less viewers than Sundays.
5. Chicago-Brooklyn: ESPN had Game 1 at 7 p.m. Saturday, then TNT has Game 4 at 1 p.m. Saturday. More people will watch the Thunder-Rockets at 8:30 p.m. Saturday than will watch the Bulls-Nets at 1 p.m. Saturday.
6. Denver-Golden State: Game 1 was the worst time slot, 4:30 p.m. Saturday — who watches television at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays? — but Game 4 gets a good slot, 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
7. Atlanta-Indiana: An invisible series in many ways, but at least Game 1 was on a Sunday, even if it was noon. Game 3 is 6 p.m. Saturday.
8. Memphis-Clippers: Game 1 was 9:30 p.m. Saturday; Game 4 is 3:30 p.m. Saturday. No Sunday games. Not good.