NBA 2015-2016 Guide
The 2015 NBA Playoffs start April 18, and I’ve put together a guide for U.S. /r/cordcutters on how to legally watch the games without cable (note: the keyword here is “legal,” so I won’t go into questionable services like BallStreams, although those outside of the US may have to rely on such methods). This is based on the guide that I originally published on my website which you can see here .
Before I get too far into this guide, I’d like to point out that you will not be able to watch the NBA Playoffs live with NBA League Pass. Unfortunately, the service does not offer live streaming of the Playoff games thanks to certain restrictions with their Playoffs TV deals (source ). However, they will make Playoff and Finals games available afterwards in the Archives as full-length or condensed game replays.
The 2015 NBA Playoffs will be carried on the following channels:
ESPN2 (only 1 first round game)
ESPNEWS (only 2 first round game 6’s)
The good news is all of these stations - except for NBA TV which, as of the time of this writing, is only carrying a few first round games – can be watched legally by those without cable.
Here’s how you can watch the 2015 NBA Playoffs in your home:
Use an OTA antenna to watch the games on ABC—ABC is the only OTA network carrying NBA Playoffs action. The station will be carrying a few weekend afternoon games in the first and second rounds, sharing the Western Conference Finals coverage with ESPN, and broadcasting all of the NBA Finals games. Need an antenna? Check out the great guide created by /u/sylver_dragon  here .
Catch some of the TNT games for free on TNT Overtime—TNT will be broadcasting games in the first two rounds and the entire Eastern Conference Finals. If you don’t feel like paying for Sling TV (more on that below), you can watch a limited number of the TNT games for free on TNT Overtime . This online service offers a unique interactive experience that doesn’t mirror the main TNT broadcast. Viewers can choose from 4 different camera angles (or watch them all at once on a 4-way split screen), and fans also have the option to vote for a player that the cameras will follow during the game. TNT Overtime certainly has its limitations as it won’t air all TNT Playoffs games and the camera angles can be pretty frustrating, but it’s free and the games are also available on mobile devices through the NBA Game Time app (Apple app ; Android app ).
Sign up for Sling TV to watch all of the ESPN family and TNT games—Sling TV lets you stream a selection of live cable channels starting at just $20 a month with no contract or commitment. For basketball fans, you’ll be able to stream the Playoff games on ESPN, ESPN 2, and TNT using the Sling TV basic package ($20/month). As /u/HedgeKnight84  pointed out, "you even get ABC's broadcasts on ESPN 3 by logging in to WatchESPN with your Sling TV credentials. That's a big deal because ABC carries the NBA Finals." ESPNEWS (which is carrying a couple of first round game 6’s if necessary) is also available in the Sling TV Sports Extra package which you can add on to your subscription for an additional $5 a month (side note: the Sports Extra package also comes with 8 other sports channels). Not sure about Sling TV? You can sign up for a free 7-day trial to test it out here.
To recap, cordcutters have legal options for watching all of the NBA Playoff games except for the few carried on NBA TV. At this time, there is no legal streaming option for NBA TV
Feel free to comment below on your thoughts or questions you have.