The 2021 NBA playoffs transition from the first to the second round starting Saturday, with the Milwaukee Bucks visiting the Brooklyn Nets for Game 1. Led by Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, the Nets are the favorites to win the NBA championship, but they’ll first have to make it past Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, who led the league in scoring during the regular season.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch live on TNT, no cable required.
What’s the schedule for the NBA playoffs?
The 2021 NBA playoffs started Saturday, May 22, and the first round will wrap up Sunday with Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks. The succeeding rounds continue through June; the 2021 NBA Finals are scheduled to start July 8. As in past years, each playoff series requires four games to win and runs up to seven games.
Here’s the schedule for the next few days.
Saturday, June 5
- No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2 Brooklyn Nets, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on TNT (East semifinals Game 1)
Sunday, June 6
- No. 5 Atlanta Hawks at No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers, 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on ABC (East semifinals Game 1)
- No. 5 Dallas Mavericks at No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET on ABC (Game 7; series tied 3-3)
Monday, June 7
- No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2 Brooklyn Nets, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on TNT (East semifinals Game 2)
- No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 1 Phoenix Suns, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET on TNT (West semifinals Game 1)
Check out the full 2021 NBA playoffs schedule at NBA.com.
How can I watch the NBA playoffs on TV live without cable?
Four of the five majoroffer ESPN, TNT and ABC (all but Sling TV), but not every service carries your local ABC station, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area. Sling, to its credit, will be simulcasting the games that air on ABC.
If you have FuboTV, you’ll need something else to catch the games on TNT. Getting NBA TV, which will have some coverage as well, may require an additional fee.
Our top picks? For the most complete option — and a better app — check out YouTube TV. If you want to get all the games for the cheapest rate, Sling TV is the pick.
Google’s live TV streaming service offers all the channels you’ll need for the NBA playoffs for $65 per month.
Read our YouTube TV review.
Sling TV’s Orange package offers ESPN and TNT for $35 per month. While it does not carry ABC, Sling says it will simulcast the games that air on ABC through ESPN3. Getting NBA TV, however, requires the additional $11 per month Sports Extra add-on.
Hulu Plus Live TV costs $65 a month and includes three of the channels you’ll need for the NBA Playoffs, with the exception being NBA TV.
Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.
AT&T TV’s basic Entertainment package costs $70 and carries ABC, ESPN and TNT. To get NBA TV, however, you will need to upgrade to the $85 per month Choice option.
Read our AT&T TV review.
Will fans be allowed at the games?
Whereas the 2020 playoffs took place in a Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida, the NBA has played its 2020-21 season in regular arenas with fans increasingly coming back to stadiums as local COVID-19 restrictions have eased. Fans are allowed at playoff games this year, though the exact number in each venue will vary.