Game 6 gives network its second-best hoops rating

NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Celtics' series-clinching victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is the second-most watched basketball game ever aired on ESPN.

The broadcast Thursday night drew a 6.6 rating on the cable network and averaged 6,552,000 households and 8,983,000 viewers. Only Game 4 of last year's Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets did better on ESPN, earning a 6.9 rating.

The Celtics-Cavaliers game is the third most-viewed program on the network in 2010. It captured 29.4 rating in Cleveland, giving ESPN its highest-rated NBA playoff game in that market since it began keeping records in 2003.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.