The 2021 NBA playoffs are in full swing, with pivotal games between top teams nearly every day. They’re broadcast live on national and cable networks — namely TNT, ESPN and ABC — but thanks to, NBA fans don’t need a cable subscription to watch. As we near the sharp end of the NBA season, only four teams are left standing, so we’re down to just one game per night.
Friday night brings the second matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks shocked the higher-ranked Bucks in the first meeting of the series on Wednesday and will look to open up a 2-0 series lead tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET) on TNT.
Here’s everything you need to know to stream the action, no cable required.
What’s the schedule for the NBA playoffs?
The 2021 NBA playoffs started Saturday, May 22, and the second round concluded on Sunday, June 20. Succeeding rounds will continue through early summer and 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.
Friday, June 25
- No. 5 Atlanta Hawks at No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks, 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on TNT (Hawks lead 1-0).
Saturday, June 26
- No. 2 Phoenix Suns at No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET on ESPN (Suns lead 2-1).
Sunday, June 27
- No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks at No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, Game 3, 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on TNT (Hawks lead 1-0).
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. 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.
Read our Sling TV review.
AT&T TV’s basic Entertainment package costs $70 and carries all the channels you’ll need for the NBA playoffs.
Read our AT&T TV review.
FuboTV offers ABC and ESPN as part of its $65-per-month Basic plan but does not have TNT.
Read our FuboTV review.
Are fans 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.