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ESPN Announces TV Ratings For Lakers vs. Warriors

LeBron on the court for the Lakers.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after his three pointer in double overtime to lead the Lakers to a 135-129 win over the Detroit Pistonsat Staples Center on February 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, last night's NBA Play-In Tournament matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew significant ratings.

The game reeled in 5.6 million viewers on ESPN, according to The Athletic's Richard Deitsch. Those who tuned in saw a thriller, which the Lakers pulled out 103-100 thanks to a shot clock-beating three-pointer by LeBron James with 58.2 seconds remaining.

The win earned LA the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and a date with the second-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round.

According to ESPN's Ben Cafardo, the Lakers-Warriors broadcast peaked at over six million viewers between 12:30 p.m. ET and 1 a.m. ET. That's right around when LeBron hit his game-winner, so there's no surprise more people were tuned in for crunch time.

While LeBron may have said recently that the NBA should fire whoever came up with the play-in round, the additional games have had exactly the type of ratings impact commissioner Adam Silver was hoping for.

Don't be surprised if the Play-In Tournament is here to stay moving forward. You won't always have matchups as compelling as last night's but the extra contests only help the NBA.