Warriors-Suns was NBA's most-watched regular season game since beginning of pandemic

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After a ratings nadir in 2020, the NBA is posting numbers not seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An average of 2.4 million viewers tuned in for Tuesday's game between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns on TNT, Turner Sports announced Wednesday. That's reportedly the most viewers a game has received in a regular season game since the Los Angeles Lakers-Milwaukee Bucks game on Dec. 19, 2019.

The average viewership of TNT's doubleheader, which included a thriller between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, was also TNT's most-watched doubleheader since 2019.

If any game was going to set a ratings high this regular season, it was probably going to be Warriors-Suns. The Suns entered the game with a 16-game win streak on the line against the Warriors, who held the NBA's best record at 18-2.

Despite losing star Devin Booker to a hamstring injury, the Suns pulled out the win thanks to a late run and tied the Warriors for the best record in the NBA. Their 17th straight win tied a franchise record set in the 2006-07 season.

Ever since the league resumed play in 2020, low ratings have been a recurring story for the NBA, even if they don't really matter to the vast majority of basketball observers. Some factions on the internet were quick to ascribe the downtick to the league's political statements, but an overall decrease in television ratings across the industry as well as the shift in timing of the postseason likely played a much larger role.

The NBA also saw some positive signs last postseason, when a Warriors-Lakers play-in game became the league's most-watched game since the 2019 playoffs, only to be surpassed by an NBA Finals that saw a 50% increase over the previous Finals at one point.

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