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Aatif Sulleyman

How to watch NBA play-in tournament 2024 — live stream, TV channels, schedule

Tephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of the 2024 NBA Play-in Tournament.

The Lakers and 76ers are in, the Warriors and Hawks are out, and the final two NBA Playoffs slots are about to be filled. Today could well be a moment for the underdogs, as the Bulls are lining up against a Heat team missing Jimmy Butler, and the Kings are facing a Pelicans team with no Zion Williamson.

Read on and we'll show you how to watch NBA play-in tournament 2024 from anywhere with a VPN, and potentially for FREE.

NBA play-in tournament live streams: TV schedule, dates

The 2024 NBA play-in tournament concludes today, Friday, April 19. Full schedule below.
U.S. — ESPN & TNT (via Sling TV)
 AUS Kayo Sports (free trial)
 U.K.TNT Sports
• Watch anywhere — Try NordVPN 100% risk free

While Butler's postseason heroics are the stuff of NBA legend, Williamson has been in the form of his career. In a parallel universe, the Pels could have made a real splash in the Playoffs, but their rotten luck with injuries has left their fate hanging in the balance. 

However, the Bulls are sweating over Alex Caruso's ankle injury, with the guard by far their most important defender. Similarly, Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter are out of action for the Kings, who went 0-5 against the Pelicans in the regular season.

Before last year, no play-in team had ever gone on to win a playoff series. Jimmy Buckets and the Heat put paid to that, underdogging it all the way to the NBA Finals in a run reminiscent of a March Madness Cinderella story. But will they even make the cut this time?

Here's everything you need to know to watch NBA play-in tournament 2024 online, plus the full schedule, TV channels and all the live stream information, with or without cable.

NBA play-in tournament games and TV schedule

(All times ET)

Tuesday, April 16

  • LA Lakers (8) 110-106 New Orleans Pelicans (7) | TNT
  • Golden State Warriors (10) 94-118 Sacramento Kings (9) | TNT

Wednesday, April 17

  • Miami Heat (8) 104-105 Philadelphia 76ers (7) | ESPN
  • Atlanta Hawks (10) 116-131 Chicago Bulls (9) | ESPN

Friday, April 19

  • 7 p.m. – Chicago Bulls (9) vs Miami Heat (8) | ESPN
  • 9:30 p.m. – Sacramento Kings (9) vs New Orleans Pelicans (7) | TNT

Watch NBA play-in tournament in the U.S.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the U.S., every Western Conference play-in game is being shown on TNT, and every Eastern Conference game will be on ESPN. 

However, for comprehensive coverage of the NBA postseason, you'll need TNT, ESPN, ABC/ESPN3 and NBA TV.

If you've already cut the cord and don't have a cable package, you can get all of those channels through an OTT cable TV alternative.

Sling TV is one of the better options. It includes TNT, ESPN and ESPN3 in its Orange plan, with prices starting from $40/month and your first month half-price.

You'll also get access to the first round of games on NBA TV.

An even cheaper option for this year is HBO's streaming service Max with its B/R Sports Add-On, which is being included for free for a limited time.

The B/R Sports Add-On brings access to all the postseason games on TNT. Max prices start at $9.99/month with ads, going to $15.99/month ad-free. Or there's a special on at the moment with 20% off if you pay for a whole year upfront.

Watch NBA play-in tournament from anywhere

Away from home at the moment and blocked from watching the NBA basketball on your subscriptions?

You can still watch the NBA play-in tournament live thanks to the wonders of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). The software allows your devices to appear to be back in your home country regardless of where in the world you are. So ideal for hoops fans away on vacation or on business. Our favorite is NordVPN. It's the best on the market:

How to watch NBA play-in tournament in the U.K.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) has the rights to NBA basketball in the U.K..  

You can get TNT by subscribing to the Discovery Plus Premium plan for £29.99 per month, or you can add TNT Sports through Sky, BT, EE or Virgin Media to watch via your television provider. 

To stream TNT Sports, you'll need Discovery Plus — a combo subscription that allows fans to access TNT Sports, Eurosport and entertainment all in one place.

The NBA League Pass is another good option and it costs from £29.99 for the rest of the season after a 7-day FREE trial.

If you're not in the U.K. right now, you can still watch an NBA play-in tournament live stream by using one of the best VPN services, such as NordVPN

Watch NBA play-in tournament in Canada

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

TSN has the rights to show NBA play-in tournament live streams in Canada.

If you don't have cable, you could subscribe to TSN+ instead, which lets you get access to all TSN has to offer on an $8/month or $80/year subscription basis.

Watch NBA play-in tournament in Australia

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Aussies will find NBA play-in tournament live streams on ESPN via Foxtel.

Don't have Foxtel and don't want to subscribe? Specialist streaming service Kayo Sports is also showing the play-in tournament, with its affordable, commitment-free plans starting from just $25/month, and hosting plenty of cricket, AFL, rugby, F1 and loads of other live sports besides.

There's also a 7-day FREE trial for anybody who hasn't used the service before.

Not in Australia right now? You can simply use a VPN like NordVPN to watch all the action on your Kayo account as if you were back home.

Why is there an NBA play-in tournament?

The NBA play-in tournament was introduced in 2020, when the outbreak of Covid-19 led to the suspension of the regular season on March 11.

The season restarted in the NBA Bubble on July 31, and it was decided that a miniature play-in tournament would be used to determine which of the No.8 and No.9-placed teams would qualify for the playoffs.

It was originally proposed as a temporary measure, but any excuse to stage and televise more games will almost always be seized upon by sports leagues. 

Sure enough, months later the NBA Board of Governors announced that the play-in would henceforth not only be a permanent fixture, but would also be expanded to four teams.

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