The Warriors and Celtics Nearly Set a Decidedly Disappointing Record in the 2022 NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors each won multiple hard-fought playoff series to reach the NBA Finals. However, despite being two of the most recognizable teams in the NBA, the first four games haven’t been very close. Exciting finishes are hard to come by. 

While the C’s and Warriors are both great teams, they each had games where a rather lopsided contest led to a disappointing record almost being set. Here’s the story of what that record was and whether it’s impacted the overall watchability of these Finals. 

There haven’t been many close games in the 2022 NBA playoffs

Derrick White of the Boston Celtics shoots against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during 2022 NBA Finals
Derrick White of the Boston Celtics shoots against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors | Elsa/Getty Images

While the quality of play in the NBA is still incredibly high and exciting in its own way, the up-tempo style of play focused on maximizing three-point opportunities with plenty of floor spacing has not led to many close contests this postseason. 

According to Fox Sports, the closest scoring separation between two teams battling in a playoff series was the first-round matchup between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. However, while those games were closer than most, they didn’t lead to a terribly exciting series – the Celtics swept the Nets in the only sweep of the 2022 playoffs. 

These playoffs have featured three Game 7 showings. For fans seeking a hard-fought, close series, this is usually good news. However, each Game 7 has been lackluster at best – at least for one of the teams involved. The Dallas Mavericks pounded the Phoenix Suns by 33 in a deciding second-round game. The Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks by 28 in their Game 7. The Eastern Conference Finals saw Boston blow out the Miami Heat for a large part of the game before Miami had an inexplicable late comeback that still fell short. 

Many fans might have expected Boston and Golden State to combine for some high-scoring, exciting – and most importantly, close – matchups. They have been proven wrong, much to the average basketball fan’s chagrin. 

The disappointing record almost set by the 2022 NBA Finals

Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals was another blowout, this time in favor of the Golden State Warriors. It was a point away from being the 23rd contest of the postseason with a point disparity of more than 20. Additionally, both Game 3 and Game 4, while closer, weren’t particularly nail-biting either, with point disparities of at least 10.

The only postseason to lap this total was the 2016 NBA playoffs. That ended with the Warriors – younger then, before Kevin Durant came to town – falling to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games. There were 24 games decided by 20 or more points. Despite this, that postseason had an epic NBA Finals showdown that didn’t disappoint. This version of the Finals can’t say the same. 

So, has this lack of close games affected whether or not people watch the 2022 NBA Finals? 

Has a lopsided result impacted the ratings of the 2022 NBA Finals? 

It may seem that the large number of games with a high point disparity may lead to a decrease in viewership. If that decrease is coming, it might not be until next season. The NBA ratings are doing just fine, particularly for the championship round. 

According to the NBA‘s website, Game 1 of the Boston Celtics-Golden State Warriors featured an average of 12 million people watching across both ABC and ESPN2. To put that number in perspective, it represented a 13% jump from last year’s NBA Finals. It was also the most-viewed NBA Finals game in three seasons. 

Much of that might be due to the names behind this matchup. Both Boston and Golden State have huge fanbases, plus they often catch the eye of casual fans. Still, make no mistake that the ratings bump shows just how dominant the NBA still can be in terms of the attention economy. No matter how many blowouts there might be, people will still watch. 

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