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Basketball is back! After a strange but wonderful 2019-20 NBA season, the biggest and best basketball league in the world is back for more in 2020-21. This year’s season tipped off on December 22, and there’s still plenty of time for cord cutters to get in on the action. Read on for more on the 2020-21 NBA basketball season, including all the key scheduling details, channels, streaming services, and other details you need to know about.

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

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

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$54.99 – $86.96 100+ 7 days

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$30 – $70 50+ 3 days

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When does the 2020-21 NBA season start? What will the coronavirus change about the 2020-21 NBA season?

On December 22, 2020, the NBA belatedly kicked off its 2020-21 season. We’d normally already be well into the season, but this year is a little different — it’s starting late because last season, the 2019-2020 season, was temporarily suspended and then wrapped up later than usual with a very impressive (and safe!) playoff tournament in a Coronavirus-free “bubble.”

This year, the NBA season will be 72 games long (instead of the usual 82). Teams will play on their usual home courts — except for the Toronto Raptors, who are starting the season in Tampa, Florida due to international travel restrictions that barred trips to and from Toronto. Don’t expect to see many fans in the stands, though, at least for now: Attendance rules vary from team to team, but every team is imposing at least some capacity restrictions, and many teams are keeping their stands empty.

The season will end with the usual playoff slate of 16 teams. Coronavirus-related safety measures may or may not have changed by then.

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

With in-person attendance limited by the coronavirus pandemic, there’s never been a better time to watch NBA basketball from the comfort and safety of your couch. To do that, we’ll need the right TV channels and streaming services. So what are we looking for?

For local games, you’ll need your area’s regional sports network (RSN). For example, I live in New York City. When the Net York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets aren’t on a big national channel like ESPN, I can find their games on MSG and YES, respectively. These regional sports networks are only in certain regions: You can get YES in New Jersey or out in Buffalo, New York, but not in California or Maine. RSNs often have the region in their name, like “NBC Sports Philadelphia” (76ers) and “Fox Sports Oklahoma” (Thunder).

For the big national games, we need to find ways to watch the Disney-owned networks ABC and ESPN. We’ll also want to track down TNT and NBA TV, both of which have NBA game broadcasts.

We can get these TV channels with streaming services. The best way to do that is to aim to grab all of them at once with a “multichannel” service — in other words, a cable-like bundle of live TV channels. Live TV streaming services like this are sometimes called “skinny bundles,” and we have a few favorites we’ll tell you more about in a moment. We’ll also discuss free over-the-air TV, which won’t work for every channel that has NBA games but may get you a free live feed of ABC, which is perfect for watching the biggest NBA matches and, eventually, watching the NBA Finals — no cable required.

Another great streaming option is NBA League Pass, which will let you skip over the TV channels and go straight to the games themselves. It has a few limitations, though, which we’ll talk about below.

How to Watch the 2020-21 NBA Season Without Cable

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, which makes it perfect for NBA fans.

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.

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 it 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.


AT&T’s version of the live TV streaming service includes ABC, ESPN, TNT, and even select regional sports networks. For more, check out our complete AT&T TV Now channel list.

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.

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

Like most major sports leagues, the NBA has its own exclusive streaming service. The NBA's version is called NBA League Pass, and it works pretty much like MLB.TV, NHL.TV (formerly NHL GameCenter Live), and the rest: You'll get all of the regular season games except for the ones that air in your local market on local or national broadcasts.

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 Chromecast iOS Android Web/
Hulu + Live TV
YouTube TV

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.

2 thoughts on “How to Watch NBA Basketball Online in 2020-2021

  1. Avatar 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. Avatar 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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