Warriors vs. Thunder: Ratings for Western Conference Showdown Revealed

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2016

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after hitting the game-winning shot in overtime of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Golden State won 121-118. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder took part in a classic Saturday night, and the television ratings reflect that.

Ben Cafardo of ESPN noted the contest received the highest ratings (a 3.9 Nielsen rating) of any non-Christmas regular-season game since 2013. 

Anyone who watched the game knows it was deserving of that billing. Stephen Curry knocked down a three with 0.6 seconds remaining to give the Warriors a 121-118 overtime victory. The shot was Curry's 12th three of the game, tying an NBA record while also breaking his own mark for long-rangers in a single season. He now holds the three-highest single-season three-point totals in NBA history and four of the top six.

"I never would have thought at this point in the season I would be closing in on 300 and all that kind of stuff," Curry said, per ESPN.com. "That doesn't make sense to me. I've always tried to push the envelope and keep getting better, but a lot has to go right to get to this point."

Curry scored 46 points overall and added six assists. He's had at least 40 points in his last three games and finished February averaging 36.7 points and 7.3 assists for the month. Klay Thompson added 32 points as the Splash Brothers had to atone for an evening where Draymond Green missed all eight of his shots.

LeBron James was one of many who complimented Curry's performance:

The Thunder effort was led by a 37-point, 12-rebound night by Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 13 assists, but he made just 10 of his 29 shots and turned the ball over seven times. Oklahoma City led by as many as 14 points and spent most of the game ahead; the Warriors' biggest lead of the game was just three points.

“Moral victories are for young teams,” Durant said, per Nick Gallo of the Thunder's official website. “We’ll get better from it and worry about the next game. They hit tough shots on us all night. They felt us. Our defense was better.”

The Warriors are currently 53-5, having already clinched a playoff spot with nearly two months of basketball remaining. They're on pace to eclipse the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who set the NBA benchmark with a record of 72-10. 

While there have been some old-timers offering interesting opinions of late regarding the Warriors' greatness, it was on full display Saturday night. Based on the television ratings, it appears that people are tuning in by the boatload to witness history. 


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