How to Watch the NBA Playoffs Without Cable

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After a grueling play-in tournament, the bracket has been set, and the 2021 NBA Playoffs are finally here. The defending NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers are the 7th-seed in the Western Conference and are the most feared team in the west. The Brooklyn Nets’ three-headed monster is the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference. Tomorrow the first round will begin and teams will be playing their hearts out for a chance to win the Larry O’Brien Championship. Will the oddsmakers prove to be correct in their Nets vs. Lakers predictions or will the field play spoiler? Fans will be in attendance to watch the NBA Playoffs, but cord cutters can find out how to watch every game below.

The Games – Start Times and Channel

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Philadelphia 76ers (1) vs. Washington Wizards (8)

  • Game 1: Sunday, May 23 | Washington at Philadelphia, 1 ET, TNT
  • Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 | Washington at Philadelphia, 7 ET, NBA TV
  • Game 3: Saturday, May 29 | Philadelphia at Washington, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 4: Monday, May 31 | Philadelphia at Washington, TBD, TNT
  • Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 | Washington at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Friday, June 4 | Philadelphia at Washington, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, June 6 | Washington at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

After solidifying their way into the playoffs by defeating the Indiana Pacers in the 2021 Play-In Tournament, the Wizards have won the 8th-seed and will be facing off against the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. The 49-23 76ers are led by MVP finalist Joel Embiid and he will want nothing more than a sweep against Russell Westbrook, as the 2 have had issues in the past.

Brooklyn Nets (2) vs. Boston Celtics (7)

  • Game 1: Saturday, May 22 | Boston at Brooklyn, 8 ET, ABC
  • Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 | Boston at Brooklyn, 7:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Friday, May 28 | Brooklyn at Boston, 8:30 ET, ABC
  • Game 4: Sunday, May 30 | Brooklyn at Boston, 7 ET, TNT
  • Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 | Boston at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Thursday, June 3 | Brooklyn at Boston, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Saturday, June 5 | Boston at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

The 36-36 Boston Celtics were the first play-in team to secure a playoff spot when they defeated the Wizards on Tuesday night. Boston has had a disappointing season and will need all hands on deck when they face the three-headed monster of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and former Celtics PG Kyrie Irving. Irving is looking forward to facing Celtics PG Kemba Walker in front of all the fans in Brooklyn and the northeast where both of them grew up.

Milwaukee Bucks (3) vs. Miami Heat (6)

  • Game 1: Saturday, May 22 | Miami at Milwaukee, 2 ET, ESPN
  • Game 2: Monday, May 24 | Miami at Milwaukee, 7:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Thursday, May 27 | Milwaukee at Miami, 7:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 4: Saturday, May 29 | Milwaukee at Miami, 1:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 | Miami at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Thursday, June 3 | Milwaukee at Miami, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Saturday, June 5 | Miami at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

This series is a rematch of the 2020 NBA Finals where the Heat upset the top-seeded Bucks. One year later, the Heat will be looking to repeat history and do it again. The Bucks’ overall record isn’t as good as the 2020 team; however, the team has added veterans Jrue Holiday and PJ Tucker. The Heat are the defending Eastern Conference champions and will go as far as Jimmy Butler will take them like last season. Butler is one of the best veterans in the league and even his competition has taken notice.

New York Knicks (4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5)

  • Game 1: Sunday, May 23 | Atlanta at New York, 7 ET, TNT
  • Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 | Atlanta at New York, 7:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Friday, May 28 | New York at Atlanta, 7 ET, ESPN
  • Game 4: Sunday, May 30 | New York at Atlanta, 1 ET, ABC
  • Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 | Atlanta at New York, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Friday, June 4 | New York at Atlanta, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, June 6 | Atlanta at New York, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

At the conclusion of the 2020 NBA Season, both of these teams were preparing for the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery and were watching the playoffs from home. Fast forward a season later and both of these franchises have overperformed and exceeded expectations. Defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau has turned the Knicks around and restored respect to the once-respected franchise with a 41-31 record. Also, at 41-31, the Hawks’ muscled their way into the playoffs after they made a coaching change with interim coach Nate McMillan. McMillan was fired from the Pacers after last season’s playoff loss, and now, he’s coaching his 5th consecutive year in the playoffs while they didn’t qualify.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Utah Jazz (1) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8)

  • Game 1: Sunday, May 23 | Memphis at Utah, 9:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 2: Wednesday, May 26 | Memphis at Utah, 10 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Saturday, May 29 | Utah at Memphis, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 4: Monday, May 31 | Utah at Memphis, TBD, TNT
  • Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 | Memphis at Utah, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Friday, June 4 | Utah at Memphis, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, June 6 | Memphis at Utah, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

The 52-20 Utah Jazz have the best record in the entire NBA and they’re led by the duo of Donovan Mitchell and 2021 NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalist Rudy Gobert. Mitchell has been out for more than a month with a sprained ankle but is expected to be available in the team’s playoff opener. They will need all of Gobert’s defensive presence and Mitchell’s scoring to defeat the Grizzlies.

Phoenix Suns (2) vs. L.A. Lakers (7)

  • Game 1: Sunday, May 23 | L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 3:30 ET, ABC
  • Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 | L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 10 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Thursday, May 27 | Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 10 ET, TNT
  • Game 4: Sunday, May 30 | Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 3:30 ET, ABC
  • Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 | L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Thursday, June 3 | Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Saturday, June 5 | L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

After defeating the Warriors on Wednesday night in the play-in tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers are the most dangerous team in the Western Conference. Led by guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the Suns are 51-21, but they will have their hands full against a healthy duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If the Lakers end up losing this series then this will be a disappointing season for the defending NBA Champions.

Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (6)

  • Game 1: Saturday, May 22 | Portland at Denver, 10:30 ET, ESPN
  • Game 2: Monday, May 24 | Portland at Denver, 10 ET, TNT
  • Game 3: Thursday, May 27 | Denver at Portland, 10:30 ET, NBA TV
  • Game 4: Saturday, May 29 | Denver at Portland, 4 ET, TNT
  • Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 | Portland at Denver, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Thursday, June 3 | Denver at Portland, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Saturday, June 5 | Portland at Denver, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

Led by NBA MVP finalist Nikola Jokic, the 47-25 Nuggets will not have an easy matchup against Damian Lillard and the 42-30 Blazers. The Nuggets made it to the Western Conference Finals last season, and are battle-tested with experience as the team came back from two 3-1 series deficits. The Trail Blazers were eliminated in the first-round last season and need a first round upset to be viewed as a legit threat in a stacked Western Conference.

LA Clippers (4) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5)

  • Game 1: Saturday, May 22 | Dallas at LA Clippers, 4:30 ET, ESPN
  • Game 2: Tuesday, May 25 | Dallas at LA Clippers, 10:30 ET, NBA TV
  • Game 3: Friday, May 28 | LA Clippers at Dallas, 9:30 ET, ESPN
  • Game 4: Sunday, May 30 | LA Clippers at Dallas, 9:30 ET, TNT
  • Game 5: Wednesday, June 2 | Dallas at LA Clippers, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Friday, June 4 | LA Clippers at Dallas, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, June 6 | Dallas at LA Clippers, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

In a rematch of a 2020 postseason matchup, Luka Doncic and the 42-30 Mavericks will take on Kawhi Leonard and the 47-25 Clippers. The Clippers won last year’s series 4-2, but Luka Doncic looked like a future superstar, and now, Dallas has got some help for their franchise centerpiece. The Clippers ended up imploding at the end of last year’s playoffs and their second-best player is Paul George. George was ridiculed by his play and has to prove he can rise to the occasion if the Clippers want to repeat history.

Where to watch the Round 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs

This year cord cutters have a few options when it comes to watching the first round of the NBA Playoffs. All of the games airing on ABC can be viewed with an antenna. AntennaWeb is a great tool you can use to see what ABC channel is available in your area with an antenna.

Locast: Viewers in one of the 30+ markets served by Locast will also be able to watch on their local ABC station for free with the service.

NBA TV: Fans can get a free 7-day trial with an NBA TV subscription for only $6.99/month or $59.99/year to watch nationally broadcasted games on the only network with 24/7 NBA coverage.

Subscribers to live TV streaming services can check out our chart below to see if your service will be streaming today’s games.

ChannelAT&T TV (*Starts at $85/mo.)fuboTV (*Starts at $64.99/mo.)Hulu + Live TV (*Starts $64.99/mo.)Sling TV (*Starts at $35/mo.)Vidgo(*Starts at $55/mo.)YouTube TV (*Starts at $64.99/mo.)
ABCYesYesYesNoYesYes
ESPNYesYesYesYesYesYes
NBATVYesYes (included in fubo Sports Extra package add-on $7.99/mo.)NoYes (included in Sports Extra Package add-on for $10/mo.)NoYes
TNTYesNoYesYesNoYes

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