NBA play-in tournament 2021: How to watch Warriors vs. Grizzlies today, playoffs this weekend

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Playoff basketball is here and NBA fans can look forward to high-stakes basketball nearly every day through early July. This includes having real cheering by thousands of in-person attendees in actual home arenas as COVID-19 restrictions loosen — a welcome change after the bubble of 2020.

The playoffs continue Thursday, with the first batch of Game 3s. A TNT doubleheader kicks off the night, with the early matchup featuring the Bucks and Heat at 4:30 p.m. PT (7:30 p.m. ET) before the Suns and Lakers meet up at 10 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET). Closing out the night, the Nuggets head to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. ET) on NBA TV. 

Here’s everything you need to know to watch live, no cable required.

Read more: NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021: How to watch today without cable

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Damian Lillard, left, CJ McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers will host the Nuggets in Game 3 of their series on NBA TV. 


Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

What’s the schedule for the first round of the NBA playoffs?

The 2021 NBA playoffs started this past weekend and will continue throughout the first half of the summer. The Finals are scheduled to start July 8 and could end as late as July 22. As in past years, each playoff series potentially runs seven games. 

Here’s the schedule for the next few days. 

Thursday, May 27

  • No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks at No. 6 Miami Heat, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on TNT (Bucks lead series 2-0)
  • No. 2 Phoenix Suns at No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET on TNT (series tied 1-1)
  • No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV (series tied 1-1)

Friday, May 28

  • No. 4 New York Knicks at No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on ESPN (series tied 1-1)
  • No. 2 Brooklyn Nets at No. 7 Boston Celtics, 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (Nets lead series 2-0)
  • No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers at No. 5 Dallas Mavericks, 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Mavericks lead series 2-0)

Saturday, May 29

  • No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks at No. 6 Miami Heat, 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET on TNT (Bucks lead series 2-0)
  • No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on TNT (series tied 1-1)
  • No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers at No. 8 Washington Wizards, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on ESPN (76ers lead series 2-0)
  • No. 1 Utah Jazz at No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies, 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (series tied 1-1)

Check out the full playoff schedule at NBA.com.

How can I watch the NBA playoffs on TV live without cable?

Four of the five major live TV streaming services offer 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.

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