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How to watch the NBA finals online

NBA Finals: Spurs vs. Heat

Tonight’s NBA finals tip-off raises some important questions: can Lebron James and the Miami Heat score another title ring for the second season in a row? Is Tim Duncan capable of defying his Cryptkeeper age to bring home the San Antonio Spurs’ fifth championship title? Or, if the Spurs win, is the team’s legacy actually greater than the Lakers? It’s not surprising that the Spurs and the Heat are facing off though—the Spurs, Lakers or Heat have played in every NBA final since 1999.

However, the real question you should be asking yourself right about now is: how do I watch the NBA finals online? Every game of the series will be broadcast live on ABC, or Watch ESPN if you have certain cable providers, but you don’t have to rush to purchase cable to listen to Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy’s play-by-play calls in your living room. Below are some websites that will stream live NBA coverage to your laptop or your 50-inch plasma without costing you a dime. Legal issues aside, most of them are plagued by pop-up ads and low-quality feeds, but at least you’ll know what everyone is talking about around the water cooler tomorrow morning.

Also, check out our selection of the best free antivirus software if you’re not already protected — malware is never fun — and below is the NBA finals schedule (note all times are ET).

 Game Location Date & Time
Game 1 SAS @ MIA Thursday, June 5, 9 p.m. ET
Game 2 SAS @ MIA Sunday, June 9, 8 p.m. ET
Game 3 MIA @ SAS Tuesday, June 11, 9 p.m. ET
Game 4 MIA @ SAS Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m. ET
Game 5 (if necessary) MIA @ SAS Sunday, June 16, 8 p.m. ET
Game 6 (if necessary) SAS @ MIA Tuesday, June 18 9 p.m. ET
Game 7 (if necessary) SAS @ MIA Thursday, June 20, 9 p.m. ET

VIPbox Sports (Free)

More of a portal providing links to streaming live feeds than an actual feed provider, VIPbox Sports is one of the best places to find sources for watching the NBA finals online. The site is a pop-up-laden way to catch up on all the latest sports happenings in the realms of basketball, baseball, badminton, WWE and a slew of other notable (and not so notable) sports. There are typically multiple links for accessing Flash streams of any given event, as well as a desktop stream accessible through the accompanying app, but the quality can be subpar depending on your Internet connection or hardware. Links to NBA finals have already been posted on the site’s front page, offering one-click navigation and easy access to the streams.

VIPbox Sports

First Row Sports (Free)

The international website offers a fairly extensive selection of sports categories including mainstream favorites such as basketball, soccer and football. You can even catch some off-the-beaten-path sports such as darts, snooker and something called floorball (apparently Sweden is known for a few other things besides IKEA and Volvo). The streams can be a little finicky, but the fact that you can watch national and international streams from various feeds — including mirror links during live events — make it all worthwhile. Additional plugins may also be required for video playback.

The site won’t cost you a dime, but the regular onslaught of popup ads and the potential for introducing malware into your system may leave you hesitant. 

First Row Sports

Justin.tv (Free)

Justin.tv is an entirely user-driven website that hosts several live steams at any given moment. Aside from that desired NBA finals coverage you’ve been searching for, you can find a good deal of shows discussing basketball and any other sport you can think of — from horse racing to high-stakes poker. These shows provide a great way to gear up for future games or to see highlights and recaps from the day when you get home. Although most feeds continually air multiple games in a row, you’re always at the mercy of the user who’s hosting the steam so you might need to dig a little deeper if you’re looking for more in-depth NBA content. The site also frequently streams live video game feeds, concerts, dubbed anime and all sorts of other eclectic programming that is difficult to find anywhere else.

Justin.tv is definitely one of the better video streaming hosts to date (not to mention one of the remaining), but it’s still prone to poor video quality and freezing. The website is slow to update and difficult to navigate given its general lack of organization. You can sometimes spend more searching for a stream and clicking through now-defunct links than actually watching content.

Justin.tv

Do you have a better solution for watching the NBA finals online? Which site do use to stream the games? Let us know in the comments below.