TNT says twice as many were interested in watching LeBron James’ new team crash and burn in its opener than witness the Lakers taking their bows


Your winning lottery numbers last night: 1-3-6. Except with that, you currently stand 0-1, with 0-for-82 on the horizon.

If viewership to TNT’s NBA regular-season doubleheader proved anything Tuesday night, it was that curiosity in villians may still be a better draw than the celebration of conquering heroes.

The network’s coverage of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics game did a 4.6 rating — more than 7.4 million viewers in 5.3 million homes — making it the most-watched regular-season game in cable TV history (ahead of the Lakers-Bulls game on Feb. 2, 1996).

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ opener at home against Houston as they begin their back-to-back NBA title defense had a more rational 2.4 rating — 3.7 million viewers in 2.8 million homes. It was also shown with a post-10:30 p.m. EDT tipoff.

The combined numbers — 3.5 rating, nearly 5.5 million viewers and 4 million homes — are the biggest NBA opening night doubleheader in Turner’s 27 years.

In the markets of interest, the two games fared best in Boston (17.1), Miami (15.5) and Cleveland (10.6) instead of L.A. (9.7) and Houston (7.4).

TNT’s data comes from Nielsen Media Research Live + Same Day data stream.

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