With the regular season over, the league’s top 20 teams now progress to the NBA playoffs. This will be reduced to just 16 teams after the play-in tournament (April 12–15) that determines who claims the No. 7 and 8 seeds in each conference as the playoffs begin in earnest on April 16. The title is still wide open this year, with top contenders in both conferences and plenty of exciting first-round matchups. It will all come to a head in the 2022 NBA Finals, which begin June 2.
Whether you’re looking to find the best way to watch the NBA play-in tournament and the playoffs using NBA League pass, or test cord-cutting services that include NBA action, you can do it all with the help of a VPN.
How to stream the NBA Playoffs with a VPN
You can stream the NBA Playoffs in just a few simple steps:
- Get ExpressVPN.
- Connect to a server location that matches the location of your preferred broadcaster.
- Check the schedule of the broadcaster, like ESPN or TNT, and find the game you want to watch.
- Tune in and enjoy the NBA Playoffs!
Stream the NBA Playoffs on NBA League Pass
Price: 20 USD/season
If you want to check out the biggest showcase game the NBA has to offer, there isn’t a better option than NBA League Pass. You can enjoy games without blackouts by using the international version of the service, and it comes with a seven-day free trial. Once you’ve signed up and logged in, contact ExpressVPN Support via live chat for fast and secure server locations to connect to.
NBA game blackouts: International League Pass vs. U.S. League Pass
What’s the difference between watching NBA League Pass in Germany, Australia, Canada, or the U.S.? League Pass is available both inside and outside the States. However, there are key differences every fan needs to know.
The U.S. League Pass offers live games and full-game replays for all teams. However, blackouts apply. When a team is playing, that game will be “blacked out” on the U.S. League Pass for the team’s home market. Nationally broadcast games on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV—in other words, most of the playoffs—will also be blacked out. (All blacked-out games are available three days after broadcast. If you purchased the 3-Game Choice package, nationally telecast games will be available for purchase three hours after they have aired. Locally telecast games will be available for purchase three days after they air.)
Want to tune in without having to worry about blackouts? The International League Pass also offers live games for all teams, but without a single blackout!
That’s because blackouts are put in place to protect local broadcasters’ viewership while preserving users’ ability to watch out-of-market games. If you’re streaming from a country outside the United States or Canada, every game is effectively “out-of-market,” meaning that there are no blackouts to worry about. If you only want to watch the games for a single team, select the “Team Choice” option to save some money!
How to cancel NBA League Pass
If you feel like you’re not getting value out of your subscription, cancelling it is not an arduous process. There’s actually a comprehensive guide on how to cancel. You should also be aware that the service auto-renews monthly—if you’re on a monthly subscription—or prior to the season if you’ve purchased an annual subscription. You can opt out of auto-renewals and you will be notified by email prior to getting auto-renewed for a full season.
Stream the NBA Playoffs using services with free trials
There are a number of cord-cutting services available that should cover your needs. They can be slightly pricey, but most offer free trials so you have ample opportunity to see if they’re worth it for you.
Price: 35 USD/month and up
Channels: ESPN, ESPN3, TNT
Sling TV includes channels that carry NBA playoff games, such as ESPN, TNT, and ESPN3 (NBA on ABC). To get all of these channels, you’ll need to get Sling Orange as well as Sling Blue (a combined package costs 50 USD). A three-day free trial is available. You will need to provide a U.S. ZIP code (like 10011 or 90210) and a U.S. credit card or PayPal in order to subscribe.
Price: 65 USD/month and up
Channels: ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV
YouTube TV offers all the channels airing the NBA playoffs: ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. A subscription costs 65 USD/month, and doesn’t require a U.S. billing address (though you may need to provide a U.S. ZIP code based on your preferred viewing area). If you don’t want to commit to YouTube TV, try it first with its five-day free trial.
Price: 70 USD/month
Channels: ESPN, ABC, NBA TV
FuboTV is a fantastic, if pricey, option for streaming a variety of top-tier sports including the NBA Playoffs, which can be watched on channels like ABC and ESPN. Note that fuboTV does not include TNT, which will be airing some NBA playoff games.
Price: 70 USD/month
Channels: ESPN, ABC, TBS, TNT
Hulu+Live TV carries six national channels broadcasting NBA games, along with ESPN, ABC, TBS, and TNT. Note that it does not offer a free trial at this time, however, and requires both a U.S. ZIP code and credit card billing address.
NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals
Make sure you fire up your VPN to securely live stream the NBA Playoffs. All first-round series are now underway with some fantastic matchups in both conferences.
Eastern Conference Final
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (Tied 1-1)
Western Conference Final
Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks (Warriors lead 1-0)
NBA Awards races
The finalists for this year’s awards have been announced and it’s been competitive in every category this season. Read our awards predictions below and the winners in categories already announced.
MVP winner: Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets’ big man claimed back-to-back MVP awards following another phenomenal season, averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists a game. The Serbian was the heartbeat of the Nuggets’ offense and led the league in total rebounds (1,019), total defensive rebounds (813), and triple-doubles (19). You only wonder how much further Jokić and the Denver could have gone in the playoffs had Jamal Murray been healthy and available.
Other finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Defensive Player of the Year winner: Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Smart is only the second Celtic to win the award (Kevin Garnett won in 2007-08) and is the first guard to claim it since Gary Payton in 1995-96. The eight-year NBA veteran ranked near the top in loose balls recovered, deflections, and charges drawn. That tenacity helped the Celtics claim the league’s best defensive rating and the No. 2 seed in the East.
Other finalists: Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns; Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Rookie of the Year winner: Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Although Evan Mobley has been the favorite for this award most of the season, Barnes has taken his game to the next level in recent weeks. Not only is he an extremely dangerous rim runner, he’s also a versatile on-ball and off-ball defender who can guard just about anyone and complement most lineups on offense. If Barnes ever develops a reliable three-point shot, he’ll be nothing short of unstoppable.
Other finalists: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons; Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Most Improved Player winner: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
It’s tough to win this award when you’re already a star, but Morant’s play is leaps and bounds better than it’s ever been before. The speedy and tenacious point guard has turned the Grizzlies into a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference and become one of the most dynamic point guards in the league.
Other finalists: Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers; Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
Sixth Man of the Year winner: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
The Tyler Herro breakout that many saw coming last year has finally arrived. The 22-year-old is blowing away his career highs across the board and showing off the kind of audacious shot-making that stood out when he was a rookie. Herro’s combination of three-point shooting, playmaking, and ability to attack the hoop helped Miami earn the number one seed in the East.
Other finalists: Other finalists: Cam Johnson, Phoenix Suns; Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Coach of the Year winner: Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns
Monty Williams deserves immense credit for quietly and efficiently coaching the Phoenix Suns to the top of the Western Conference in the regular season with a franchise-record 64 wins and the league’s top record. Under his guidance, young stars like shooting guard Devin Booker and center Deandre Ayton have flourished and developed into top-tier players, alongside the influence and calming presence of veteran point guard Chris Paul.
Other finalists: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat; Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies
Who’s going to win the NBA title?
The Miami Heat finished top of the East despite an unfortunate run of injuries and face off against a feisty Boston Celtics team that overcame the defending champs, Milwaukee Bucks, to set up an interesting clash of styles in the Eastern Conference Final. In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors’ combination of smothering defense and perimeter scoring makes them tough to beat. But behind Luka Dončić, the Dallas Mavericks could make a surprise push to emerge from the West.
Here are FiveThirtyEight’s top 10 teams by championship probabilities:
|Golden State Warriors||9%|
NBA Playoff schedule and TV coverage
|NBA Play-in tournament||ESPN, TNT||April 12–15, 2022|
|NBA Playoffs (First round)||ESPN, TNT, ABC, NBA TV||April 16, 2022|
|Conference Semifinals||ESPN, ABC||May 2–3, 2022|
|Conference Finals (ABC||ABC, ESPN||May 17–18, 2022|
|NBA Finals||ABC||June 2, 2022|
|NBA Draft||ESPN||June 23, 2022|