How to Watch a Legal NBA Finals Live Stream

2016 NBA Finals Book Cover 2016 NBA Finals
Men's Basketball

The 2016 NBA Finals will feature the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Want to watch the NBA Finals online?

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Sling TV button

The 2015 NBA Finals drew the highest ratings since Michael Jordan’s last title in 1998. And many expect this year’s Finals to play out similarly, which means lots of people will be looking for ways to watch. With the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers facing off, this series is sure to be one for the history books. Up until recently, there was no legal way to watch NBA finals online without a cable subscription. But that was then, and this is now. In 2016, you can legally stream the entire NBA Finals through various services. Let’s take a closer look at how you can enjoy an NBA finals live stream.

This year, the NBA Finals are set to be hosted by ESPN3 and ABC. But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch them if you don’t have cable – below, check out your best options to stream the NBA Finals.


How to Watch the NBA Finals Live Stream with Sling TV

Sling TV

Anyone with an internet connection can watch the NBA Finals online using Sling TV. Using your Sling TV credentials, you can log into the WatchESPN app and tune into ESPN3, which will be offering the entire NBA Finals both live and on-demand in English and Spanish.

It’s fast and easy to start watching an NBA Finals live stream on Sling TV (review). Sign up now and you can be watching in less than 5 minutes!

Here are 4 simple steps to watch the NBA Finals online with Sling TV:

Step 1: Sign up for Sling TV. There’s a free trial that will last you 7 days. After that, for just $20 a month you can stream live cable channels like ESPN, TNT, AMC, and more with no contract.

Step 2: Open the WatchESPN app on your phone, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, etc. You can also view it on your computer. Need a streaming device to watch on your TV? For a limited time, you can get a FREE Roku 2 or half off a Roku 3 if you sign up for 3 months of Sling TV.

Step 3: Log in with your Sling TV credentials. While you usually need a cable subscription to use the WatchESPN app, your Sling credentials will work just as well. The difference? You aren’t locked into a 2-year cable deal.

Step 4: Tune into ESPN3. ABC is the official carrier of the NBA Finals, but ESPN3 simulcasts it, which also makes it available for live streams on the WatchESPN app.

There’s also another new way for some people to watch ABC live using Sling TV. In certain markets (Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco), the local ABC stream is available in the Broadcast Extra package. However, for a limited time (likely the duration of the Finals), customers in those markets will get ABC free in the Best of Live TV package. Click here to see if it’s available in your area.


How Do You Get the NBA Finals Live Stream on Your TV?

roku 3

If you want to get watch the NBA Finals live stream on your TV, you have a couple of different options, similar to how it’s been for the rest of the NBA Playoffs. The easiest way to do so is through a set-top streaming device. This is a small box, or in some cases, a stick, that connects to both your router and TV.

While there are quite a few streaming devices out there, I prefer to use the Roku 3. I find it to be the best performing with the most options. Roku also offers a streaming stick which plugs directly into your TV. While it is a bit less powerful than their streaming box, it’s a great option for people with flat screens mounted on the wall, as there are no cords to try and hide.

For a limited time, you can get the Roku 2 for FREE or the Roku 3 half off when you prepay 3 months of Sling. At the end of the 3 months, you have the choice to continue with the service on a month-to-month basis, or cancel altogether. No contract! This is a fantastic deal and will provide a great way to watch the NBA Finals without cable, directly on your big-screen TV.


Watch the NBA Finals Stream Free on ABC in HD with an OTA Antenna

mohu leaf

As I said earlier, ABC has official broadcasting rights for the NBA Finals. So if you live close to a larger city, you may be able to use an antenna to pick up the NBA Finals over-the-air for free. I prefer the Mohu Leaf 50 antenna, as it’s both powerful and aesthetically pleasing. Click here to learn more about the Mohu Leaf.

How can you know for sure if you can pick up ABC for free? I’d advise you to look up your address on This will give you a pretty good idea of what broadcast networks you can expect to get in your area.

If you choose this route, you may be interested to know that you can also record the broadcast from your antenna using an OTA DVR. In fact, you can record content from all the over-the-air broadcast networks and watch them later. Check out this post to learn more about OTA DVR options.


Can You Watch the NBA Finals Online with PlayStation Vue?

Playstation Vue

Yes. PlayStation Vue works pretty much the same way as with Sling TV but with a few caveats. Here’s what you need to know about Vue:

  • Like Sling TV, Vue only has ABC live stream in select markets.
  • You can only sign up for Vue with a PlayStation or Amazon Fire device.
  • You can use your Vue credentials to log into WatchESPN if ABC is not available live.

Learn more about PlayStation Vue here.


Can You Watch the 2016 NBA Finals with the Watch ABC app?

If you’re a cord cutter, you can’t use the Watch ABC app to watch live TV, as it requires a pay-TV login. However, if you still have cable, you can watch assuming you’re in one of the following markets: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham or San Francisco. For more information, visit


2016 NBA Playoffs Streaming Schedule:

Note: all games can be viewed using Sling TV

All times in Eastern Time (ET)

Game 1: Thu, June 2, Cleveland @ Golden State, 9 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)

Game 2: Sun, June 5, Cleveland @ Golden State, 8 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)

Game 3: Wed, June 8, Golden State @ Cleveland, 9 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)

Game 4: Fri, June 10, Golden State @ Cleveland, 9 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)

Game 5: Mon, June 13, Cleveland @ Golden State, 9 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)*

Game 6: Thu, June 16, Golden State @ Cleveland, 9 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)

Game 7: Sun, June 19, Cleveland @ Golden State, 8 p.m. (ABC/ESPN3)


Questions about Getting an NBA Finals Live Stream?

The 2016 NBA Finals are sure to be a series to remember. And since going in person will cost you a small fortune, you’re probably better off kicking back at home and enjoying the games. If you’re looking to access NBA Finals streaming, Sling TV is your best option. It’s easy to sign up, easy to use, and comes without a contract. Need help setting it up? Or have questions about watching with an antenna? Let us know!

Elsewhere on our site, you’ll find tons of information about watching sports online and watching basketball online. Enjoy!





Mr. Cable Cutter
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Mr. Cable Cutter

Mr. Cable Cutter has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, TechCrunch, Engadget, Fortune and more. Check out his step-by-step guide for free advice on how to get rid of cable.
Mr. Cable Cutter
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