How cord-cutters can watch the NBA Finals without cable

Cord cutters: You can watch all the hardwood heroics without paying for a cable subscription.

nba for cord cutters

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The NBA Finals get underway tonight more than 11 months after the season started. As the last two teams standing from the 22-team restart, the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat will battle to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy, with game one starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Stakes are high for both teams, as neither has been to the Finals for some time—the Heat’s last appearance was in 2014 and the Lakers haven’t been here since 2010. Fortunately, you can catch all the hardwood heroics without cable as the entire series will be broadcast on ABC. All you need is a TV antenna (you’ll find our top antenna picks here).

If you don’t have antenna or it can’t pull in a local affiliate, several of the streaming services below will give you access to the games on either ABC or ESPN, and most offer trial periods that will enable you to watch a portion of the series—which potentially runs through October 13—for free. Time things right and you could even string enough free trials together to watch all the games—but most services allow you to sign up for a free trial just one time.

If you're interested in forming a longer-term relationship with any of these services, we've embedded links to our in-depth reviews of each below. 

sling tv Sling TV

Sling TV offers one of the least-expensive alternatives to cable, but you'll need a TV antenna to watch your local broadcast channels.


AT&T TV Now is far from our favorite TV-streaming service, but it will give you access to both ABC and ESPN through its basic Plus package for $55 per month. You can try the service for free for seven days.


The once soccer-centric FuboTV is now an all-purpose streaming service, and its $65-per-month Family package includes ESPN, but not ABC. A 7-day free trial is available.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV is our top pick overall for sports fans, and it gives you access to ABC and ESPN. As with most other services, however, the exact channel lineup varies by market. The service costs $55 per month, and there’s a 7-day free trial available.

Sling TV

Sling TV’s Orange package offers the least-expensive way for cord-cutters to watch the Finals. It costs just $30 per month and includes ESPN. Sling is stingy with its free trial, though—you get just three days.

YouTube TV

youtube tv YouTube TV

YouTube TV is our top pick in TV-streaming services, and it includes local ABC stations (in 99.5 percent of the homes in the U.S.), ESPN and NBA TV, but it’s also one of the more expensive alternatives at $65 per month. A 7-day free trial is available.

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