Press Releases


2011 NBA Playoffs Tip Off Saturday across ESPN Platforms


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New Animation Package to Debut on ESPN & ABC; Highest-Rated NBA Regular Season for ESPN & ABC

ESPN’s extensive coverage of the 2011 NBA Playoffs – up to 44 games, including The Finals exclusively on ABC – will begin with five games this weekend. ABC’s action will be highlighted by the Miami Heat and its core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hosting the Philadelphia 76ers and Andre Iguodala on Saturday, April 16, at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant hosting the New Orleans Hornets and Chris Paul on Sunday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m.  Mike Breen will call both games with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters. 

ABC’s Buick Regal NBA Countdown pregame show, with host Stuart Scott, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and analysts Jon Barry (Sunday only) and Michael Wilbon, will preview the games at 3 p.m.  Both will also be available on ESPN Radio (coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m.), with Jim Durham and Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay providing commentary. 

ESPN will televise three games on Saturday, April 16 – the Chicago Bulls and MVP candidate Derrick Rose hosting the Indiana Pacers and Danny Granger at 1 p.m.; the Atlanta Hawks and Joe Johnson visiting the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard at 7 p.m.; and the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki hosting the Portland Trailblazers and LaMarcus Aldridge at 9:30 p.m. The NBA Playoff schedule will continue with seven games the following weekend.

All ESPN telecasts will also be available on and ESPN Mobile TV. Kia NBA Countdown, with host Hannah Storm and analysts Chris Mullin and Jalen Rose, will preview ESPN’s game lineup at 12:30 p.m.  ESPN will televise a one-hour NBA Fastbreak Playoff Preview, hosted by Hannah Storm with analysts Chris Mullin, Michael Wilbon and Tom Penn, on Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m.

NBA Playoffs opening weekend schedule (*denotes available in SAP):

Date Time Game/Commentators Network
Sat, Apr 16 12:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown
Hannah Storm, Chris Mullin, Jalen Rose
  1 p.m. Indiana at Chicago, Gm 1
Dan Shulman, Jon Barry, Ric Bucher
  3 p.m. Buick Regal NBA Countdown
Stuart Scott, Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon
  3:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Miami, Gm 1
Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters
    Jim Durham, Dr. Jack Ramsay ESPN Radio
  7 p.m. Atlanta at Orlando, Gm 1
Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox 
  9:30 p.m. Portland at Dallas, Gm 1
Dave Pasch, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe
Sun, Apr 17 3 p.m. Buick Regal NBA Countdown
Scott, Johnson, Barry, Wilbon
  3:30 p.m. New Orleans at L.A. Lakers, Gm 1
Breen, Jackson, Van Gundy, Salters
    Durham, Ramsay ESPN Radio

NBA Playoffs schedule for April 22-24 (commentators TBD):

Fri, Apr 22 7 p.m. Boston at New York, Gm 3 ESPN, ESPN HD,, ESPN Mobile TV
  8 p.m.   Orlando at Atlanta, Gm 3          ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN 3D,, ESPN Mobile TV
  9:30 p.m. L.A. Lakers at New Orleans, Gm 3 ESPN, ESPN HD,, ESPN Mobile TV
Sat, Apr 23 7:30 p.m. San Antonio at Memphis, Gm 4 ESPN, ESPN HD,, ESPN Mobile TV
  10 p.m. Oklahoma City at Denver, Gm 4 ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes,, ESPN Mobile TV
Sun, Apr 24 12:30 p.m. GMC NBA Countdown  ABC, ABC HD
  1 p.m.   Miami at Philadelphia, Gm 4    ABC, ABC HD
  3:30 p.m. Boston at New York, Gm 4 ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio

New NBA Animation Package to Debut
ESPN and ABC will debut a new animation package for the 2011 NBA Playoffs, which will be used across all game and studio coverage.  

NBA to Deliver Highest-Rated Regular Season on ESPN & ABC
ESPN and ABC are expected to deliver their highest-rated and most-viewed NBA seasons (according to Nielsen; final ESPN numbers will be registered later today). ABC averaged a 3.0 rating; 3,519,000 household impressions; and 5,110,000 viewers for its 15 regular-season broadcasts.  Through 71 games, ESPN averaged a 1.5 rating; 1,543,000 household impressions; and 2,025,000 viewers.  ABC delivered its highest-rated and most-viewed season since its return to the sport in 2002-03 (2.6 rating; 2,826,000 household impressions; and 3,761,000 viewers); ESPN is on pace to surpass its previous record-setting season in 2008-09 (1.3 rating; 1,299,000 household impressions; and 1,680,000 viewers).

The NBA on ABC was up 38 percent in viewership (vs. 3,694,000), 33 percent in household impressions (vs. 2,643,000) and 30 percent in ratings (vs. 2.3) over last season’s 15 broadcasts. ESPN is up 29 percent in viewers (vs. 1,571,000), 27 percent in household impressions (vs. 1,218,000) and 25 percent in ratings (vs. 1.2) compared to last year (through 73 telecasts). 

NBA Playoffs on ESPN 3D

ESPN 3D, in its first year of distribution, will televise the NBA Playoffs and Finals – marking the first time the NBA postseason will be televised in 3D. The ESPN 3D schedule begins with the Chicago Bulls hosting the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, April 16, with Mark Jones and Mike Brown providing commentary. The schedule continues Friday, April 22, when the Orlando Magic host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of their first round series. 

Commissioner Stern, NBA Players, Coaches to Appear Across ESPN Platforms
NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA players and coaches from teams competing in the 2011 NBA Playoffs will appear across a wide variety of ESPN platforms Thursday, April 14, and Friday April 15, including ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (Commissioner Stern appears live April 15 at 8 a.m.), The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt Show and Doug Gottlieb Show and SportsCenter, Pardon the Interruption, Rome is Burning and First Take.

 ESPN to Televise Hour-Long Season Finale of The Association: Boston Celtics
The fifth and final installment of The Association: Boston Celtics will be televised Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The behind-the-scenes documentary has followed the Boston Celtics throughout the 2010-11 NBA season. In the final episode, viewers get an inside look at the mindset of the team as they slip to the third seed in the East and tried to regain chemistry following the Kendrick Perkins trade.  The show also offers an inside look at several of Boston’s key players including Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis, and head coach Doc Rivers.’s extensive opening round coverage will include:

  • Daily Dime Live – a live blog hosted by before, during and after each game;
  • TrueHoop and TrueHoop Network blogging throughout playoffs;
  • special sections for each playoff series;
  • chats with NBA Legends throughout the postseason;
  • playoff analytics and rankings from ESPN stats analyst John Hollinger;
  • in-depth coverage from’s local websites (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles).

NBA Playoffs on ESPN
ESPN will offer multimedia coverage of the NBA Playoffs across 16 platforms: ESPN on ABC, ESPN on ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Radio, ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic,,, ESPN Mobile TV and ESPN The Magazine.

ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs will be shown throughout South America, Africa, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Pacific Rim and Asia.

The Finals on ABC are scheduled to begin June 2. Additionally, for the 16th consecutive season, ESPN Radio will provide extensive NBA Playoff coverage including first-and second-round broadcasts, and every game of both Conference Finals and The Finals.


Media contacts:  Nate Smeltz at 860-766-4550 or [email protected] (Twitter: Nate_ESPN); Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or [email protected] (Twitter: Ben_ESPN)