How cord-cutters can watch the NBA Playoffs and Finals without cable
You can watch all the hardwood heroics without paying for a cable subscription.
By Michael Ansaldo
The first full NBA season in two years is now in the books, and the postseason officially kicks off tomorrow, Saturday April 16 at 10 a.m. Pacific. The playoffs and NBA Finals are scheduled to run through as late as Sunday, June 19 and will be broadcast on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV, with ABC exclusively airing the championship series.
Whether you want to follow one particular series or catch the entire tournament, you will likely need a streaming subscription. We’ve listed the options below and included links to get you started.
Over the air
The good news is you can watch the Finals on ABC for free if you have an over-the-air TV antenna and are within the radius of your local ABC affiliate’s broadcast tower. You’ll find our top antenna picks here.
You can watch the playoff games with some combination of the following services.
DirecTV Stream will give you access to ESPN, TNT, TBS, ABC and NBA TV through its choice package for $90 per month. Currently, the service is offering $10 off the monthly rate for the first three months of your subscription. You can try the service for free for five days.
The once soccer-centric FuboTV is now an all-purpose streaming service, and its $80-per-month Elite package includes ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV. None of its packages include TNT or TBS, though. 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, ESPN, TBS, and TNT. As with most other services, however, the exact channel lineup varies by market. The service costs $70 per month, and there’s a 7-day free trial available.
Sling TV’s “basketball bundle” is one of the least-expensive ways for cord-cutters to watch the NBA postseason. Sign up for the Sling Orange package plus the Sports Extra add-on and you’ll get $10 off the usual $46-per-month price. That will get you ESPN, TNT, TBS, and NBA TV. Add a TV antenna to catch the ABC broadcasts, and you’ll have everything covered. Sling TV offers a 7-day free trial when you sign up through a Sling-compatible streaming device .
YouTube TV is our top pick in TV-streaming services overall, and it includes local ABC stations (in 99.5 percent of the homes in the U.S.), ESPN, TNT, TBS, and NBA TV. Subscriptions are $65 per month, but the service is currently offering the first month for just $14.99 for a limited time. A 7-day free trial is available.
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