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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., May 3) -- trickle down numbers for thoroughly whipped Mavs

Thursday's Game 3 demolition at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Dallas Mavericks' ratings on a decided downward spiral as the long night wore on.

Stretching from 8:51 to just after 11:15 p.m., OKC's 95-79 rout of the now all but dead defending champs averaged 189,675 D-FW viewers on both TNT and TXA21, which had the homegrown presentation.

Crowds peaked at 243,868 on TNT (from 9:30 to 9:45 p.m.) and 237,094 on TXA21 (from 9:45 to 10 p.m.). But by the final 15 minutes of the game, those numbers had dwindled to 135,482 viewers on TNT and 121,934 on TXA21.

The combined total game average of 379,350 viewers nonetheless matched the crowd for the Mavs' heart-splintering Game 1 loss at OKC and slightly exceeded the 372,576 viewers for Game 2. Saturday night's Game 4, scheduled for an earlier 6:30 p.m. start, will also be up against the Texas Rangers-Cleveland Indians game on Fox Sports Southwest. Luckily for the Mavs' ratings prospects, Yu Darvish isn't scheduled to pitch until Sunday.

Elsewhere on the dial, Fox's American Idol results show nearly matched the combined audience average for Mavs-OKC, drawing 359,027 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. McKinney's Hollie Cavanagh, whose Bottom 2 exiles have become this season's trademark, again lived to sing again and now is in the show's Final 4.

CBS' The Big Bang Theory edged the first half-hour of Idol in total viewers but those positions were reversed among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

In the Big Four broadcast network universe, the CBS crime combo of Person of Interest and The Mentalist won from 8 to 10 p.m. in total viewers. The 18-to-49 firsts in those time slots went to ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast, which trumpeted its live interview with the ever-available Deion Sanders.

In Thursday's local news derby results, CBS11 edged WFAA8 in total viewers but Fox4 had the gold among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. WFAA8 fell to fourth.

The 6 a.m. numbers were much better news for WFAA8. Its Daybreak registered its first doubleheader win of the May "sweeps," which still have 14 weekdays to go. WFAA8, defending February sweeps champ Fox4 and NBC5 remain locked in a close three-way fight for early morning supremacy.

The Peacock stayed strong at 5 p.m. with twin wins. And WFAA8 likewise swept the 6 p.m. competitions.