Based on fast national ratings, last night’s Game 2 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals on ABC – the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics – averaged 13,491,000 viewers (P2+), marking an increase of 58 percent compared to last year (8,551,000 viewers for Cleveland at San Antonio). The Lakers/Celtics game averaged 9,535,000 households, an increase of 53 percent over 6,235,000 households in 2007, and an 8.5 rating, up 52 percent over last year’s 5.6 rating. The Celtics won the game 108-102 to lead the Lakers 2-0 in the series.

For the second consecutive broadcast, the NBA Finals sparked ABC to “win the night” among all television networks. The NBA Finals averaged more homes and viewers than any other show, with ABC winning primetime overall among all networks. Excluding the Academy Awards evenings, ABC garnered its highest Sunday numbers across key male demographics in more than two years (best since March 12, 2006 in Men 18-34; best since March 21, 2006 in Men 18-49 and Men 25-54).

The Lakers/Celtics broadcast was the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed NBA Finals Game 2 since Lakers/Detroit Pistons in 2004 (10.7 rating; 11,563,000 households; 16,129,000 viewers).

Among key demos, the NBA led the competition among (demo impressions in parenthesis):

Men 18-34 (2,358,000) Adults 18-34 (3,708,000)
Men 18-49 (4,656,000) Adults 19-49 (7,258,000)
Men 25-54 (4,685,000) Adults 25-54 (7,204,000)

Additionally, viewership peaked in the 11 p.m. to midnight (8-9 p.m. PT) hour. Following are half-hour household rating details:

Broadcast half-hours (all times ET) HH Rating
9:04-9:30 p.m. 7.2
9:30-10 p.m. 8.3
10-10:30 p.m. 8.3
10:30-11 p.m. 8.7
11-11:30 p.m. 9.1
11:30-11:55 p.m. 9.1

Game 3 of the series will air on ABC Tuesday, June 10, with coverage starting with GMC NBA Countdown at 8:30 p.m.