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The NBA is back! Beginning on October 19, basketball’s biggest stars will be back on the court for the 2021-2022 NBA regular season. Fans will be back out in force this year, filling arenas around the country for every regular-season game. If you’d like to catch a game from your couch instead, we’re here to help: This is your complete guide to watching the NBA without cable in 2021-2022.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NBA games:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$69.99 – $139.99 65+ None

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$64.99 – $33.00 220+ 7 days

See Offer

$35 – $50 30+ – 130+ 3 days

See Offer

What TV channels have NBA basketball? Can I watch NBA basketball online?

Ready to watch NBA games without cable? To figure out exactly how to catch the games you crave, we’d better start with some basic knowledge about which channels will air NBA games in 2021-2022.

For starters, your local team will play on a regional sports network, or RSN. These are channels that are only available in certain markets. For example, Knicks fans can catch their team on an RSN called MSG — but only if they live in the area that MSG serves, which is limited to certain areas near New York City.

On other occasions, NBA basketball will be played on a national stage. To catch nationally broadcast games, you’ll need to track down streams of the NBA’s big broadcast partners: ABC, ESPN, and TNT. You’ll also find games on the league’s own channel, NBA TV.

How to Watch the 2021-22 NBA Season Without Cable

If you’re not in your team’s market (in other words, if you can’t get your team’s RSN on TV), then you’ll want to check out NBA League Pass, which we’ll talk about in a moment. But if you are in your favorite team’s market — or if you want to catch the nationally broadcast games on ESPN and TNT — then you’ll want to replace cable with a different live TV solution. Your best bet is a live TV streaming service. This sort of service is perfect for cord cutters because it delivers a cable-like experience for less cash and fewer commitments.

Our list below will start with live TV streaming options; however, stick around for our discussion of free over-the-air TV (which is perfect for ABC games) and NBA League Pass.

Stream NBA basketball with DIRECTV Stream

Try It

DIRECTV Stream, the live TV streaming service owned by DIRECTV, has gone by a few names over the years. Whatever you call it, though, DIRECTV Stream is a stellar option for streaming NBA games without cable. It has ESPN, ABC, NBA TV, and a host of regional sports networks. When it comes to RSNs around the country, we’ve found DIRECTV Stream to be more impressive than most competitors. Among other RSNs, DIRECTV Stream has the elusive Bally Sports family of networks — something that, as of this writing, no other live TV streaming option can match. We consider DIRECTV Stream to be the best streaming bet for fans of in-market NBA teams and one of the best streaming options for fans of sports in general.

Stream NBA basketball for free with Hulu

Free Trial

As we said in our Hulu + Live TV review, this is one of our favorite live TV streaming services. Hulu offers ABC, ESPN, and TNT. It even has select regional sports networks, As we said in our Hulu + Live TV review, this is one of our favorite live TV streaming services. Hulu offers ABC, ESPN, and TNT. It even has select regional sports networks, which makes it perfect for NBA fans looking for national broadcasts. However, we’d like to see better coverage of RSNs from this service.

Stream NBA basketball for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV is a live TV streaming service that puts a particular emphasis on sports. You can use fuboTV to get an NBA live stream of games on ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and select regional sports networks. As of this writing, fuboTV’s channel lineup does not include TNT. fuboTV’s RSN lineup is better than that of most competitors, though it still lacks the Bally Sports networks that DIRECTV Stream offers.

Stream NBA basketball with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV is a great live TV streaming service that’s perfect for picky cord cutters. It lets you customize your channel bundle with small add-on bundles so that you end up with the perfect package for you. Sling TV includes ESPN and TNT and offers NBA TV in an add-on bundle. Sling TV also lets you add an NBA League Pass subscription right onto your live TV subscription. The bad news? Sling TV lacks ABC, so you’ll need an antenna to cover that channel. Sling TV’s RSN coverage can be a little spotty, too.

YouTube TV

As we said in our YouTube TV review, Google’s version of the live TV streaming service is a really strong option for streaming your favorite cable networks. It works great for NBA fans, too. ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV are all here, plus select regional sports networks. As of this writing, the “select” RSNs aren’t quite as numerous as we’d like, so YouTube TV won’t work for local games in every market. Be sure to check its coverage before you sign up.

Free Over-the-Air TV

Antennas are among the most underrated options for cord-cutters. With the right antenna, you might be able to get ABC for free — meaning that you could watch the NBA Finals and other big NBA matchups for free, no cable required. The FCC’s channel finder will help you find your nearest ABC station. Don’t forget to scan for channels!

NBA League Pass

The NBA has its own exclusive streaming service. The NBA's streaming service, NBA League Pass, can get you access to all of the regular season games except for the ones that air in your local market on local or national broadcasts. In other words, this is a great solution for out-of-market fans (like a Bulls fan living in New York City), but not a great option for in-market fans (like a Bulls fan living in Chicago). NBA League Pass offers league-wide coverage as well as single-team plans.

Can I Watch NBA Games on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast?

NBA games deserve to be played on your TV screen, not just your computer screen. Happily, our favorite streaming services work really well with our favorite streaming platforms. You should have no trouble using services like Hulu + Live TV to stream NBA games on platforms like Roku and Fire TV.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web/
browser
DIRECTV Stream Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hulu + Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Youtube TV No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Can you get around NBA League Pass Blackouts?

NBA League Pass is one of our favorite ways to watch live NBA games without cable, but its blackouts are a major issue. If you live in your favorite team’s home market, then you won’t be able to watch the games that matter most to you on NBA League Pass — unless, of course, you can somehow convince NBA League Pass that you’re somewhere else.

Good news: It’s possible to use a VPN to change your IP address and virtually shift your location. This could get rid of blackouts on NBA League Pass, as long as you’re using a VPN that NBA League Pass can’t detect (otherwise, NBA League Pass might block your access — using a VPN isn’t something streaming services always let you get away with). If you use one of the best VPNs of 2021, you shouldn’t have a problem circumventing the NBA League Pass blackouts. Note that VPNs tend to work best on computers and may not fare as well on mobile devices, because mobile devices have robust “location services” features that make it easier for apps to determine your real geographic location.

Of course, even with a VPN, NBA League Pass is really only good for regular-season coverage. Be sure to get a streaming or over-the-air solution set up in time to watch this year’s NBA playoffs without cable!

2 thoughts on “How to Watch NBA Basketball Online in 2021: Your Guide to Streaming the 2021-2022 NBA Season

  1. Tyler Miranda says:

    I’d like to point out Ballstreams. I’ve used it for a few years now and it works really well. There is even Kodi and Emby plugins. I believe registration is not always open though.

  2. Wade Gutt says:

    League Pass is worse than last year. No way anyone should pay $200 for the freezing, glitches, non loading videos.

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