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Watch the NBA Online Without Cable

Basketball Season is quickly approaching. The 2018-19 season will tip off on Tuesday, Oct. 16 on TNT. 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 of 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. Spoiler Alert, This Free Trial to FuboTV is going to be the best option for most.

Watching In Market NBA Teams

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 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, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs,  and Washington Wizards)

You will want to use FuboTV as they carry the regional sports networks for all those teams if you live in that team’s market.  You can sign up for a 7 -day free trial. They also offer their first month for $39.99. It’s $44.99 after that. You can add also add NBA League Pass through your fuboTV subscription as an option for $28.99 a month which will provide you access to all NBA teams outside your local market.

FuboTV also includes NBA.TV. The only downside to FuboTV is it doesn’t include ESPN. You can catch ABC you can watch using a TV antenna, but all Nicks games will be aired on the MSG Network through FuboTV. Read my full review of FuboTV for more information.

If you need ESPN, you can pick up a free trial to Sling TV and see if you like it. After that, the service will run $25 per month. Personally, I could get by on FuboTV alone.

If you must carry both FuboTV and Sling Carrying both will $65 your first month, and $70 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. You could also see DirecTV Now as an option, but it costs $65 per month to get all those channels and I’ve personally had issues with the service.

Watching NBA Games Out of Your Market

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. This service is available through your fuboTV subscription. However, you can also purchase it directly.

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.

I use a service from StronVPN called a “Smart DNS.”  It essentially gets around the geographical blackout on the service.

You get the Strong DNS for free when you sign up for StrongVPN. So just doing the following should get you around the blackout.

  1. Sign up for StrongVPN
  2. Follow the instructions here to set up your device

Once the Smart DNS is set up, you can sign up for NBA League Pass. You can use your current billing address. The SmartDNS should still open up all games.

StrongVPN’s  Smart DNS is a legal way to get around the blackout. Furthermore, you now have access to a VPN service for added security. 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

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 Yes 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

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