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The 2021 NBA playoff season is upon us, and while in-person attendance is still limited due to Covid, there are a number of ways to catch the action live from home.
After another modified season due to the ongoing pandemic, the top 16 teams in the league will now face off in the first round of the playoffs, on the road to the 2021 NBA Finals.
2021 NBA Playoff Format
The top six teams in each conference will automatically earn a spot in the playoffs. This year, the NBA is also introducing a Play-In Tournament, which will take place after the regular season and before the first round of the playoffs. The mini tournament will include the teams with the seventh-highest through tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference, who will play to earn the final two playoff berths in their respective conferences.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the reigning NBA champs, and LeBron James and co. will be going after their 18th NBA championship trophy, which would move them ahead the Boston Celtics for most NBA titles in a franchise’s history. Other contenders this year include the Giannis-led Milwaukee Bucks, the Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Can You Watch the NBA Playoffs in Person? How to Get Tickets
Though coronavirus restrictions are still in place, many NBA teams have opened up their arenas for in-person attendance, albeit at limited capacity and with social distancing in place. The best place to get NBA playoff tickets online is through VividSeats.com, which still has a ton of seats available as of this writing. VividSeats guarantees that you’ll get your tickets in time for the game, and you’ll get your money back if the event is cancelled (or say, if your team is eliminated from playoff contention).
If you want to get tickets to watch the NBA playoffs in person, make sure to also read up on each venue’s rules for Covid safety and social distancing so you know what to expect when you arrive at the game.
How to Watch the NBA Playoffs on TV
Despite not having full attendance in the stands due to coronavirus restrictions, NBA games are still available to watch on TV and to stream from home. The 2021 NBA playoffs will be broadcast live on ABC, TNT, ESPN and NBA TV.
If you only care about nationally broadcasted games, or are looking for the cheapest way to watch the NBA playoffs on TV, consider picking up an HDTV antenna from Amazon. This one comes in a sleek, slim unit and gets you a signal range of 200 miles. That means it can pick up the NBA on ABC, in up to 4K quality. You’ll also get all the major broadcast networks like CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW through the antenna for free.
How to Stream the NBA Playoffs Online Free
If you don’t have cable, your best best to stream the NBA playoffs online is through one of these online streaming and live TV services.
1. Sling TV
We’ve had a subscription to Sling TV for years now, and it’s one of the best values for live sports and entertainment online. The $35 Sling Orange plan gets you access to ESPN, ESPN3 and TNT for basketball, plus channels like CNN, HGTV, AMC and more. Add the Sports Extra package to the Sling Orange base, and get access to NBA TV.
Sling is offering a huge deal right now that gets you a month of Sling for just $10, saving you more than $25 off the regular price. Or get Sling Orange + Sports Extra for just $21. See full details here.
Vidgo may not be one of the big names in the live streaming market, but they’re one of the best. Their $40 “core” subscription plan includes 60+ channels, including ABC. Sports fans love Vidgo, as the package also gets you all the ESPN channels, the NFL Network, FS1 and more. Watch on up to three devices at a time.
The best place to stream live sports online is through fuboTV. Fubo is the only streaming service to offer NBA TV as part of its standard package. Fubo also recently announced plans to add ESPN and ABC to its channel lineup (though access may vary by region). In addition to its NBA coverage, fuboTV gets you almost 100 channels of live TV, and its $64.99 family plan includes FS1, NFL Network, Golf Channel, Pac 12 Network, CBS Sports and more.
Fubo lets you watch content on your phone, tablet or TV, and the family plan lets you watch live TV on three screens at once. A monthly subscription also includes 250 hours of cloud DVR recording — great for when you want to record the game to replay later.
Fubo is offering a 7-day free trial right now. Get the deal here to test out the service for yourself. You can cancel anytime.
4. Hulu + Live TV
If you want sports and entertainment, you best bet is to sign up with Hulu + Live TV. For just $54.99/month, you get unlimited streaming of Hulu’s massive catalog of TV shows, movies and originals (including The Great, Little Fires Everywhere and The Handmaid’s Tale) plus access to NBA games on ESPN, TNT and ABC (in most markets).
Hulu + Live TV is basically your one-stop-shop for content. Stream a new movie or binge your favorite show, then switch over to the Live TV platform to watch a game in real-time. See details and start a 7-day free trial here.