With three rounds of the NBA Playoffs officially in the books, just four victories separate the remaining two teams — the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers — from hoisting the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Can LeBron James finally bring Cleveland a championship trophy, solidifying himself as the savior of the city and one of the best basketball players of all-time? Or will Steph Curry and the lights-out Warriors continue their season-long dominance of the league and bring the Bay Area yet another World Championship? It all starts tonight at Oracle Arena in Oakland; basketball fans, this is what you’ve waited for since October.
While it’s clear the NBA’s popularity knows no boundaries, that’s not so with the broadcasts. Whether it’s your boss coming down on you for watching at work, your decision to cut cable, or some other obstacle, it’s not always easy to get your NBA fix. We feel your pain, so we’ve compiled this guide showing where to stream all the NBA playoff action on tap for the next couple months. So bust out your favorite Rasheed Wallace throwback jersey and put on some Reebok Questions, here’s your (digital) ticket to the 2015 NBA playoffs.
ESPN’s companion video client WatchESPN gives NBA fans live access to any playoff game set to stream on either ESPN or ESPN 2. The service does require users to sign-in with a compatible cable or satellite subscription, hindering access to those who’ve completely gone off the grid. Nevertheless, those who possess the required credentials — or know someone who does — gain access to the exact same broadcast as those who choose to watch on television. Basically this means you won’t miss out on hearing Jeff Van Gundy go on about fired coaches, how to stop LeBron James, and his disdain for the Chicago Bulls’ management team.
Similar to WatchESPN, TNT offers online streaming of whatever currently airs on either of its TNT West, or TNT East broadcasts. Like ESPN’s app, TNT requires users to tether a compatible cable or satellite subscription to the website in order to view the content (i.e. NBA playoff games). Simply enter your cable or satellite provider’s sign-in information when the site prompts you to gain access to both of TNT’s available streams. With TNT slated to air the lion’s share of NBA playoff action, we recommend bookmarking this streaming option for quick access.
The folks over at TNT not only offer a resource for streaming NBA action, but they also provide fans of the game an enhanced way to catch each upcoming matchup with TNT Overtime. With access to the site requiring only an Internet connection, TNT Overtime offers users live playoff action, the ability to view multiple camera angles, and adds an interactive touch by including what’s trending on Twitter. Though it doesn’t offer any commentary from the television broadcast, TNT Overtime is a great way to follow the NBA playoffs without breaking the bank for a cable subscription.
The new cord-cutter’s special from Dish Network provides a great way to watch the NBA playoffs live without a cable or satellite subscription. Subscribers to Sling TV’s introductory $20 per month package get channels like TNT, TBS, and ESPN, granting even basic users access to a host of NBA playoff action.
Microsoft’s Xbox One recently gained access to a Sling TV application, with DISH Network offering users a free month trial of everything the streaming service offers. Though the trial lasts just 30 days, it’s more than worth checking out given the sheer amount of content users have access to. Do keep in mind the service requires physical cancellation before the 30-day trial ends, otherwise you’ll notice a one-month charge for $20 on your next bank statement.
Like Dish Network, Sony recently joined the cordcutting revolution and now offers subscriptions for its own version of an online streaming service. Called PlayStation Vue, subscribers to the service gain broadcast access to channels like NBC, Fox, CBS, TNT, and a host of other top-tier networks. However, Vue does boast two glaring caveats in which it doesn’t yet have a partnership with ABC (meaning no access to ESPN or the NBA Finals), and costs subscribers $50 per month for access. On the plus side, unlike Sling TV, Playstation Vue offers a cloud DVR system that saves content for 28 days.
An incredible resource for information about virtually everything, Reddit touts more than enough NBA-specific information to satisfy any and all basketball fans. With playoff coverage on tap for the next month and a half, expect loads of content related to each matchup including interviews, game videos, injury news, and hilarious memes. Reddit’s loyal user base generates the site’s wealth of content. On game days, you’ll find plenty of NBA-themed stories, chat threads, and even alternative streaming sites.
While Reddit is a fantastic resource for getting your NBA fill, it’s entirely too easy to waste entire weekends poking around the rest of the site. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Though not a video option, ESPN regularly offers its signature play-by-play Gamecast presentation for each playoff matchup. Simply head over to the NBA’s scoreboard page via the ESPN website, click the game you’d like to “watch”, and the desired Gamecast window opens. This feature shows real-time events including every made basket, dunk, foul, and James Harden flop. Gamecast also lists each team’s stats, highlight videos, and what’s trending via the social media site Twitter.
Questionable streaming sites
Keep in mind most of the illegal streaming options available come loaded with unwanted spam and a barrage of pop-up windows. Leaning on such links tends to be frustrating, particularly when it comes to finding quality video and audio feeds with little buffering.
Again, you must keep in mind many of these sites illegally broadcast the content, and your computer remains at a high risk of malware when using them. Nevertheless, you’ll notice the deep selection of links available to you once you find an adequate streaming site on the Web. Many sites — though technically legal given they only provide links to various broadcast streams instead of broadcasting the copyrighted content — fall within the gray areas of the law.
Note: As a rule of thumb, never click on any link which asks you to download any HD Players, update your streaming software, or to install any “required” media players. These are often just spam links that could infect your computer with viruses.
The Finals schedule – All times PST
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 1: Thursday, June 4th – Cleveland @ Golden State (ABC – 6 p.m.)
Game 2: Sunday, June 7th – Cleveland @ Golden State (ABC – 5 p.m.)
Game 3: Tuesday, June 9th – Golden State @ Cleveland (ABC – 6 p.m.)
Game 4: Thursday, June 11th – Golden State @ Cleveland (ABC – 6 p.m.)
Game 5*: Sunday, June 14th – Cleveland @ Golden State (ABC – 5 p.m.)
Game 6*: Tuesday, June 16th – Golden State @ Cleveland (ABC – 6 p.m.)
Game 7*: Friday, June 19th – Cleveland @ Golden State (ABC – 6 p.m.)