April is a time for many things: fresh flowers, filing your taxes (the day before they are due) and the NBA playoffs. Sixteen teams from the NBA’s two conferences will battle for supremacy in best-of-seven series, all in pursuit of the Larry O’Brien trophy, and a shot at everlasting glory. The season began with anxiety that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers were destined to crush the Western and Eastern conferences, respectively, cruising toward a fourth finals matchup. The 2017-18 season turned out to be a wild ride, with teams that seemed weak breaking through their limits, while expected contenders struggled. Although a few teams — the Houston Rockets, Warriors, and Cavaliers — seem like easy picks to reach the finals, there are plenty of talented teams (like the Portland Trail Blazers) eager to upset the predictions.
The playoffs begin Saturday, April 14, and individual games will be broadcast on ESPN, TNT, and ABC. The current schedule (including channels for each game) can be found here. If you want to watch online, you also have a number of options available via both apps and streaming services.
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 who know someone that does — can gain access to the exact same broadcast as those who choose to watch on television. This basically means you won’t miss out on hearing Jeff Van Gundy go on about fired coaches, how to stop LeBron James, and his righteous disdain for flopping.
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.
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 such as TNT and ESPN, granting even basic users access to a host of NBA playoff action.
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 (if legally dubious) 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.
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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 wait for the desired Gamecast window to open. This feature shows real-time events, including every basket, dunk, foul, and Chris Paul flop. Gamecast also lists each team’s stats, highlight videos, and what’s trending on Twitter.
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