TNT Botches Game Schedule

TNT, along with NBA broadcast partners ESPN and ABC, continue to ride the most provocative NBA season in recent history to big television ratings, taking advantage of teams in the ultra-competitive Western Conference and the re-emergence of the Celtics. Thursday night TNT blew its last regular season opportunity for big ratings.

Each Thursday the NBA schedules a third game, along with the TNT doubleheader. This week, five of the six teams playing were in the West race, two games pitted in the Pacific time zone. Yet TNT televised the one game with the worst team involved, the Clippers, and passed on the one non West coast game, in Dallas, forcing a local start time of 5:00 PM for the Golden State-Denver game.

Kobe and the Lakers always draw ratings, but why put a semi-meaningless LA showdown featuring the hapless Clippers that turned into a 30-point blowout and pass up an intriguing Dallas-Utah game with two teams in the midst of the playoff race. To make the decision look worse, the Mavs and Jazz played a tight game down to the wire with Nowitzki hitting a late jumper to send Dallas to the playoffs.

The schedule forced the Nuggets-Warriors game, tied for the final playoff spot, to start at 5 PM locally to accommodate the late start in LA. TNT easily could have started the Dallas game at 7 CST, not an unreasonable for local fans on a Thursday, kept the Warriors at 10:30 EST, 7:30 local, and boasted a Western Conference double dip involving the three teams battling for the final two spots and a division winner, then had Dallas clinch. Instead they have a snoozer in the late window, and probably in the ratings column.

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