Coronavirus and Your Money: Special Coverage
By Brad Tuttle
December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017 arrives with a great gift for basketball fans, in the form of five special NBA games scheduled throughout the day.

It’s easy enough to watch all the NBA action if you’re a cable or satellite TV subscriber: The Dec. 25 NBA games are being broadcast nationally on a mix of standard pay TV channels (ESPN, TNT) and the ABC network.

But how do you watch the NBA Christmas games if you don’t have cable? And how to watch if you don’t even have a TV? We’ve got you covered with all of the options for how to watch or stream the NBA games online, including when to tune in.

12 P.M. ET: Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks

The NBA’s first Christmas Day game is being broadcast on ESPN. If you don’t have cable, your best bet is to sign up for a live-streaming TV service that includes ESPN in the package. These options include DirecTV Now, Hulu Live, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

All of the services above allow you to live-stream dozens of channels on a variety of devices, and all come with free trial periods for new signups. So if you just want to watch the NBA Christmas games for free, that’s easy enough to do—just register with one of streaming services and remember to cancel before the trial period ends and you’re charged.

If you do want to subscribe to a streaming TV service, the options above start at $20 and up per month, and Sling TV is the cheapest (though most limited) of the bunch.

Yet another streaming option for diehard NBA fans is the NBA League Pass. Subscriptions start at $17.99 per month for the right to stream one team’s games for the season, and go up to $39.99 per month for a package letting you stream NBA games live in every arena around the country. However, blackouts apply to all NBA League Pass subscriptions—and whenever games are broadcast nationally (like they are on Christmas Day), you cannot stream them with the service.

3 P.M. ET: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

The rematch of the 2017 NBA Finals is being aired on ABC. If you have access to free broadcast channels, either via a basic cable package or a digital antenna, you can simply find the local ABC station and watch on TV.

To stream the game, you’ll have to find a live-streaming service that includes local broadcast channels in the package. All of the services listed above (DirecTV Now, Hulu Live, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, YouTube TV) might have the capability to stream ABC, but the channels included in each bundle vary around the country and you’ll have to check to see if ABC is part of your local package.

5:30 P.M. ET: Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics

This game is being aired on ABC. To watch for free, the same guidelines apply as those spelled out above for the Cavaliers-Warriors game also being broadcast on ABC.

8 P.M. ET: Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

This game is also being broadcast on ABC. To watch, follow the guidelines spelled out above for the Cavaliers-Warriors game.

10:30 P.M. ET: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The final nationally televised NBA Christmas game is being broadcast on TNT. That’s probably included in your cable bundle, if you’re a subscriber.

If you’re not, again, you can consider signing up for a free trial for a streaming service like DirecTV Now, Hulu Live, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, or YouTube TV. Just make sure that TNT is included in the package you sign up for locally—and remember to cancel the subscription by the time the free trial ends, assuming you don’t want to actually pay for it.

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