ESPN Sets Cable Basketball Overnight Mark with Game 6 of Heat-Celtics

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Thursday's Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN -- which saw the Miami Heat stave off elimination and force a winner-take-all Game 7 -- delivered a 8.2 overnight rating, the best for an NBA contest on cable since records began in 2003, according to Nielsen.

The June 7 telecast surpasses Game 4 of the series, which had previously set the record with a 7.9 overnight rating on June 3.

In Miami, Game 6 delivered a 22.0 rating, the highest-rated NBA playoff game on ESPN in the market. The game averaged a 20.5 in Boston, the second-highest rated NBA game on ESPN there.

ESPN concludes its NBA coverage for the 2011-12 season with Game 7 on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (ET). The winner will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, tipping off June 12 on ABC.