Nuggets-Blazers Should Be Nationally Televised

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Nuggets-Blazers Should Be Nationally Televised

Like most hardcore NBA fans, I tune into every NBA playoff game. But, also like most NBA fans and like most human beings, I don’t have an NBATV subscription, and I therefore must watch some of these games via other methods. This has some obvious negatives associated with it; 1) It means that I’m unable to watch on the big screen (I must watch on my laptop) and 2) it is often laggy and a few minutes behind, resulting in me routinely seeing what happens on Twitter before I see it live on my computer. Yesterday, with 3 games on the schedule, game 5 of Blazers-Nuggets (the best game of the 2021 playoffs so far), was not nationally televised. This marks the second time that the Blazers-Nuggets game has been relegated to not being on national television; no other series has played more than 1 non-nationally televised game, and multiple series (PHO-LAL, NYK-ATL, BKN-BOS) have not even had 1 non-nationally televised game. 

Something’s Not Right

Something doesn’t seem right here. I know that some series are more talked about and analyzed than others, and it makes sense that networks like TNT, ESPN, and ABC would rather have those series on their networks as opposed to the less-talked-about series (after all, they care about views more than anything else). It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, though, because the games that are most watched (a.k.a the games that are on national TV) are the games that the talk-show hosts and TV personalities will primarily discuss, therefore furthering interest in those series as opposed to others. For example, since the BKN-BOS series has been on national TV and the DEN-POR series hasn’t, the First-Take producers have realized that a higher percentage of their listeners/viewers watched BOS-BKN as opposed to DEN-POR, and are therefore incentivized to talk more about the BOS-BKN series (even if it’s been less enjoyable or entertaining). 

What Should Change

First of all, it doesn’t make much sense to me that certain series would have no non-nationally televised games while others would have half of their games nationally televised. Each team should play the same number of nationally televised games, giving viewers an equal chance to get invested in each series. Of course a casual NBA fan is going to care less about what Lillard’s doing if he/she can’t watch the game. Secondly, and arguably more important, I think TV personalities and talk-show hosts have to reimagine the way that they analyze these games. There is way too much of an emphasis put on storylines and drama around the NBA, and not enough emphasis placed on what is actually occuring in the game itself. What we witnessed last night from Damian Lillard was one of the most amazing playoff basketball performances I’ve ever seen. The difficulty of shots, the clutchness, and deep-shot accuracy, the ability to get by his defender with ease, and much more… It's incredible, but ESPN would rather talk about how Lebron’s loss last night will impact his legacy. Nobody cares, Stephen A. Ok, people might care, but a large part of why they care is that people like you talk about those storylines as opposed to the BASKETBALL storylines. If shows like First Take would spend more time discussing Dame’s incredible performance last night than they do discussing Lebron’s legacy, casual NBA fans would have a better understanding of how good Dame is, something they most certainly do not have right now. The crux of my argument is that the disinterest in the POR-DEN series, as proven by the games that national TV networks like ESPN, ABC, and TNT decide to televise, could be easily influenced by either the networks themselves or TV personalities. They have the power… now use it.

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