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Watch the NBA Online Without Cable

The 2017/2018 NBA season is underway. With all teams being broadcast on regional sports networks, many basketball fans assume you need a cable or satellite TV provider to watch games. This isn’t the case in most parts of the country. In this guide, I’ll explain how every basketball fan can watch the NBA online without cable this season.

How To Watch the NBA Online

With so many streaming services on the market, it can be tough to know which one is best to watch your favorite NBA team. Furthermore, if you want to watch nationally televised games you will need a combination of ABC, TNT, ESPN, and NBA TV. It can get complicated

I’m going to simplify that today. I’m going to do a quick breakdown on what streaming service is best for each team if you live in the teams local market. Later in the article, I’ll cover watching out of market team’s games.

Watching From the Teams Local Market

Here is a breakdown of teams and how to watch their NBA games without cable in each market.

Fans of the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, and Toronto Raptors

Unfortunately, the regional sports networks that carry these teams are not available on a streaming service. However, there is a workaround I’ll cover later in the article. You can jump ahead and read.

Fans of the New York Nicks

You will want to use FuboTV. They are the only streaming service that offers the MSG network which airs Nicks games. You can sign up for a 7 -day free trial. They also offer their first 2 months for $19.99. It’s $39.99 after that. Read my full review of FuboTV for more information.

The service also includes NBA.TV. The only downside is FuboTV doesn’t include ESPN and TNT. ABC you can watch using a TV antenna. If you need ESPN and TNT you can pick up a free trial to Sling TV and see if you like it. After that, the service will run $20 per month. This will run $40 your first 2 months, and $60 a month after that. However, there is no contract, so you can ditch one of the services when the season is over and save money compared to a cable subscription.

Fans of All Other Teams

(This includes Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers ,Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs,  and Washington Wizards)

I feel the best option for all other teams is DIRECTV NOW. They have the Regional Sports Network for all other teams. The service also provides ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. They even stream the local live ABC affiliate in all these teams cities except for Memphis and New Orleans.  Therefore, Grizzlies and Pelicans fans will need an antenna to watch any national games on ABC.

Try a 7-day Free trial to DIRECTV Now. After the trial, the “Live a Little” plan will run $35 a month. If you want NBA TV the price will cost $50 per month. For more information on the service read my review of DIRECTV NOW.

If you don’t care about National Games on ESPN, TNT, ABC, and NBA.TV you can save a little bit of money and grab the Sling TV Blue package for $25 per month. However, they do not offer the NBC regional network of the Celtics and the 76ers.

These are the best options for each team if you are within the market. However, there are other possible services if you are unhappy with my suggestions. You can check these tables for other options.

Watching NBA Games in Other Markets Online

We’ve covered how to watch local market games, but what about games in other markets. For those fans, there is NBA League Pass. This service will allow live streaming of NBA games and is offers three tiers of services.

NBA Team Pass – Costs $119.99 a season or $17.99 a month and allows you to watch the live broadcast of all games for 1 team. Blackout restrictions do apply, so if they are playing a team that airs nationally or in your locality it will be blacked out.

NBA League Pass – Costs $199.99 a season or $28.99 per month and allows you to watch the live broadcast of all games for all teams. Blackout restrictions do apply, so if they are playing a team that airs nationally or in your locality it will be blacked out.

NBA League Pass Premium – Costs $249.99 per year and provides everything from the standard League Pass, but there are no commercials. During commercial breaks, you will get the live stadium feed. The blackout rule still applies.

League Pass is supported on iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Amazon Fire Tablet
Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV, Roku, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Android TV
Samsung Smart TV, and Chromecast.

What if No Service Carries your Regional Sports Network?

This section mainly applies to fans of the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, and Toronto Raptors. What you can do is subscribe to the NBA League Pass service I describe above. Now I know League Pass will also black you out if you are in the same market as the team you want to watch. However, there is a way around this.

NBA League Pass uses your IP address to know your location. If you are located in an area where the regional sports network is airing the game, then you get blacklisted. Therefore all you need to do is get an IP address from a different location. You can do this using an online VPN service.

I personally use IPVanish to do this. They have networks all over the U.S. and several other countries as well. You simply sign up for their service and they provide everything you need to make your device seem like it’s in another state or country. If you are curious about VPNs, I’ve written an in-depth article explaining what a VPN is and how to use one.

NBA Live Streaming Services

Below are tables explaining which services stream NBA online along with channel and team information.


Stream National NBA Games Online

Service ABC ESPN NBA TV TNT
DIRECTV NOW Yes (Most Markets) Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV No No Yes No
Hulu Live TV Yes (Most Markets) Yes No Yes
PlayStation Vue Yes (Most Markets) Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes (Most Markets) Yes Yes Yes

Stream Local NBA Games Online

Team Network DIRECTV NOW fuboTV Hulu Live TV PlayStation Vue Sling TV
Atlanta Hawks Fox Sports Southeast Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Boston Celtics NBC Sports Boston Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Brooklyn Nets YES Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charlotte Hornets Fox Sports Southeast Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chicago Bulls NBC Sports Chicago Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cleveland Cavaliers Fox Sports Ohio Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dallas Mavericks Fox Sports Southwest Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Denver Nuggets Altitude Sports No No No No No
Detroit Pistons Fox Sports Detroit Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Golden State Warriors NBC Sports Bay Area Yes Yes Yes Yes ($10 extra /mo.) Yes
Houston Rockets AT&T SportsNet SW No No No No No
Indiana Pacers Fox Sports Indiana Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
LA Clippers Fox Sports Prime Ticket Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
LA Lakers Spectrum Sports No No No No No
Memphis Grizzlies Fox Sports Southeast Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Miami Heat Fox Sports Sun Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Milwaukee Bucks Fox Sports Wisconsin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota Timberwolves Fox Sports North Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
New Orleans Pelicans Fox Sports New Orleans Yes Yes Yes No Yes
New York Knicks MSG Network No Yes No No No
Oklahoma City Thunder Fox Sports Oklahoma Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Orlando Magic Fox Sports Florida Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Philadelphia 76ers NBC Sports Philadelphia Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Phoenix Suns Fox Sports Arizona Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Portland Trail Blazers NBC Sports Northwest Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Sacramento Kings NBC Sports California Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
San Antonio Spurs Fox Sports Southwest Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Toronto Raptors SportsNet and TSN (Shared) No No No No No
Utah Jazz AT&T SportsNet RM No No No No No
Washington Wizards NBC Sports Washington Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

If this article did not answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.

You can also get help online with any technical questions you may have. Just check out this Online Tech Support Chat Tool

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Dennis Restauro :Dennis is the founder of Grounded Reason. He also hosts the Grounded Reason Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: Follow Dennis on Twitter