Why did ESPN move the official game from the Lakers-Clippers to the Warriors-Suns?

If you’ve been looking at the NBA game standings on Friday night and wondering if you’ve lost your mind, the answer is no, the schedule is correct. Lakers vs. Clippers are not shown on national television.

ESPN announced Thursday afternoon that it would arrange the battle in Los Angeles to broadcast the Warriors vs. Suns. It’s a surprising move on the surface, but the switch actually means a lot.

Let’s analyze two factors that forced ESPN to reevaluate its programming.

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Why did ESPN beat the Warriors-Suns to the Lakers-Clippers?

Warriors vs. Suns is a great match

The Suns have the best record in the NBA this season (March 19), and the Warriors are right behind them on the Western Conference rankings (March 18). Phoenix is ​​on an 18-game winning streak, and Golden State won seven in a row before losing… The Suns.

Tuesday night’s contest between the contenders for the title was not only a high-profile one, but a ratings win for TNT. Notification network that the game averaged 2.4 million viewers, giving TNT the most-watched Open Night regular since December 19, 2019 (Lakers vs. Bucks).

You have big names like Stephen Curry and Chris Paul. You have a preview of a potential Western Conference finalist. And you can have an easy ranking win because the previous game is so fresh in the minds of basketball fans.

It doesn’t take a veteran TV executive to think that Warriors vs. Suns should be brought out in front of a nationwide audience.

The LeBron James Effect

Oh, and this part is also a big deal. When ESPN announced his decision, James stuck to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He is expected to miss many games after being reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. A James-less (and Kawhi Leonard-less) match isn’t that exciting.

However, the Lakers star was delete to return to his team on Thursday night after registering multiple negative COVID-19 tests, per report. (The NBA stipulates that a player who tests positive for COVID-19 must be absent from his team for a minimum of 10 days or until he returns two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour period.) hour.)

Will ESPN rule out the Lakers vs. Clippers if the news came out earlier in the day? Maybe not, but the Lakers are expected to appear on ESPN nine more times this season. No one can complain about Los Angeles being short on screen time.

NBA Fixtures Friday, December 3

Game Time (ET) National Television
Heat vs. Pacers 7 pm
Cavaliers vs. Wizards 7 pm
76ers vs. Hawks 7:30 pm ESPN
Timberwolves vs. Nets 7:30 pm
Magic vs. Rockets 8pm
Pelicans vs. Mavericks 8.30pm
Celtics vs. Jazz 9 pm
Suns vs. Warriors 10 give me ESPN
Clippers vs. Lakers 10 give me

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