How to watch the NBA without a cable subscription


Kevin Durant James Harden Brooklyn Nets

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The 2020-21 NBA season has reached the halfway point, with all 30 teams still scheduled to play 72 games on a condensed calendar due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The start of the current season came less than 75 days after the conclusion of the last NBA season, creating unprecedented challenges for the league. 

After a shortened All-Star weekend event on March 7, NBA teams are charging into the second half of the season. The Utah Jazz lead the Western Conference thanks to stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert; both are playing some of the best basketball of their careers with help from a healthy supporting cast. The Philadelphia 76ers lead the Eastern Conference by a slim margin over the Brooklyn Nets, who added former MVP James Harden to a team that already included NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The NBA regular season will end on May 16, and the teams ranked seventh to 10th in each conference will participate in a play-in tournament to determine their final seeding for the NBA Playoffs. The teams in ninth and 10th place will need to win two games to earn one of their conference’s eight playoff seeds, while the teams in seventh and eighth need to win just once to get in.

NBA Play-in Tournament

Last year, the NBA was able to finish the regular season and playoffs with 22 teams at a quarantined site in Orlando, but teams have been traveling for games this season and fans have been in attendance at some arenas. The NBA has installed a detailed protocol for teams to handle coronavirus outbreaks during the season, and 32 games were postponed during the first half due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

Key dates remaining in the 2020-21 NBA regular season

March 25 — NBA Trade deadline

May 13 — NBA Hall of Fame induction for the class of 2020

May 18 to 21 — Playoff play-in tournament

May 22 — NBA Playoffs begin

July 22 — NBA Finals Game 7, if necessary

How to watch the 2020-21 NBA regular season

The NBA season began on December 22, 2020 and will continue until May 16, 2021; games are broadcast on ESPN, TNT, ABC, NBA TV, and local team affiliates. You can stream games via the ESPN app,,,, or ABC app if you have an authenticated pay-TV provider with access to those channels. 

Live TV streaming services also offer select NBA games, including platforms like Sling TV, AT&T TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV. Unfortunately, only a few of these services include all of the channels you’ll need, but you can still get access to a nice selection with certain subscriptions. Below, we’ve broken down exactly which networks you’ll get with each platform to watch NBA games.


AT&T TV is one of the most comprehensive options for streaming the NBA season. Plans start at $70 a month, but NBA fans who want access to the most games will need the Choice plan for $85 a month. This package includes ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

As part of a limited-time offer, AT&T TV is even including NBA League Pass Premium when you sign up for its Choice plan or above. NBA League Pass Premium offers access to live, out-of-market regular season games.

In addition to cable networks, AT&T TV also offers a nice selection of local affiliate stations in different markets. You can check which regional sports networks are included in your area here

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YouTube TV

YouTubeTV offers ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV for $65 a month, providing full access to all of the major broadcast and cable networks that show NBA games.

With that said, YouTube TV doesn’t offer as many regional sports networks as AT&T TV.

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Sling TV

Sling TV includes ESPN and TNT as part of its Orange plan for $35 a month. Subscribers can add NBA TV via the Sling Sports Extra package for an additional $10 a month. Alternatively, you can add NBA League Pass to an Orange membership for an extra $29 a month. On the downside, Sling does not include ABC. 

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Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV features access to ESPN, TNT, and ABC for $65 a month. However, NBA TV is not offered. On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV does include access to Hulu’s entire on-demand library of shows and movies. You can also bundle ESPN+ and Disney Plus with the service for an extra $7 a month.

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Fubo TV

Fubo TV includes ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV for $80 a month under its Elite plan. On the downside, TNT is not currently available.

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If you just need access to NBA TV or are only interested in watching the games televised on that network, you can sign up to stream the NBA TV channel directly. The service costs $7 a month or $30 for the rest of the season.

What is NBA League Pass?

NBA League Pass is also available as a subscription service on its own. League Pass gives you access to hundreds of NBA games, including ones that are outside of your local TV market. With that said, local blackouts apply, and League Pass does not include games that are nationally televised.

You can pay $60 to watch one team’s games for the rest of the season, or $100 to access every team. The commercial free League Pass Premium costs $125 for the rest of the season. League Pass also allows monthly payments starting at $18, but you’ll end up paying almost twice as much as the annual cost if you pay monthly all season.

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