The 2018 NBA Playoffs tip off this weekend, accompanied by a flurry of questions. Can the Golden State Warriors repeat as champions? Does LeBron James have another run at a title in him? Can the Houston Rockets run their regular seasons success into postseason glory?
But the most pressing question may be asked by hoop fans who find themselves away from a TV when game time is near: how do I catch the action online?
Credit: A. Ricardo/ShutterstockIt’s fairly easily to catch an NBA playoff game on a Web browser or mobile device, though you’ll need to either have a subscription with a cable provider or a streaming service that carries the channels broadcasting playoff games. Here’s what you need to know heading into the playoffs about streaming NBA games.
When do the playoffs start?
The first round tips off Saturday (April 14), with the San Antonio Spurs visiting the Golden State Warriors at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. First round games continue through April 29, when the assorted best-of-seven series conclude. The NBA website contains a playoff schedule, though only the first four games of each series have a time and channel listed, as any if-necessary games will be scheduled at a later date.
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The second round and conference finals are slated to start April 30 and May 15, respectively, though those dates could be moved forward by a day or two depending on how quickly earlier rounds wrap up. Look for the NBA Finals to begin on Thursday, May 31.
What channels are carrying the playoffs?
ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV will share the first round duties. Subsequent rounds will be on ABC, ESPN and TNT, while ABC is your home for the Finals.
Will any apps carry the playoffs?
ESPN’s mobile app (Android, iOS) will carry any games airing on either the cable network or ABC. Watch TNT (Android, iOS) picks up TNT’s games. For both apps, you’ll need to sign in through your cable provider to stream any games.
What streaming services carry those channels?
What if you’ve cut the cable cord? You can still follow the NBA playoffs live, provided you’ve signed up for a streaming service. Here’s a look at which relevant channels the major services provide and what you’ll pay for that package. You’ll want to double-check to make sure that the streaming service carries your local ABC affiliate, as that can vary depending on your local market.
DirecTV Now: DirecTV’s entry-level Live A Little package includes ABC, both ESPN and ESPN2 and TNT. That package costs $35 a month. If you want to include games on NBA TV, you’ll need to upgrade to the Go Big package, which costs $60 a month.
Hulu with Live TV: The $40-per-month service includes ABC, ESPN and TNT. NBA TV isn’t available on Hulu.
PlayStation Vue: The $39.99-per-month Access package features ABC, ESPN and TNT, among other channels. Upgrading to the Core package for another $5 per month adds NBA TV, plus other channels.
Sling TV: Sling TV’s dueling Orange and Blue packages can be a little confusing at times, but it’s pretty straightforward here. You’ll get ESPN and TNT with the $20-a-month Sling TV Orange. A $5 Sports Extra add-on gives you NBA TV along with more than a dozen other sports channels.
YouTube TV: All the channels you need — ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV — are included with the $40-a-month service.
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