After 1230 games, sixteen of the NBA's best teams remain, chasing rings and the chance to hold up the Larry O'Brien trophy. The NBA Playoffs kick off this Sunday morning, Australian time and it's probably going to be one of the most evenly contested playoffs series we've seen for some time. Take that for data.
Which Teams Are In The NBA Playoffs 2018?
16 teams remain - eight from the East and eight from the West. The Houston Rockets finished top of the league with a 65 win, 17 loss record ensuring they have 'home-ground' advantage throughout the entire playoffs. The notoriously competitive Western Conference promises to throw up some huge matches, with six of the eight teams finishing within two wins of each other.
In the Eastern Conference, the Raptors easily finished top, four games clear of Boston. They look to be the two most likely teams, but the Philadelphia Sixers - with Australia's own (and deserved Rookie of the Year) Ben Simmons leading the charge - are going to be the most fun to watch.
The full NBA playoff picture 2018 is below:
When Do The NBA Playoffs 2018 Start?
The first official day of play is Saturday, April 14 in the US, which translates to an early start Sunday morning, April 15, in Australia. A run of four games will kick off the playoffs, with the San Antonio Spurs taking on the Golden State Warriors at 5am AEST.
Here's that time in all capital cities.
- Perth, WA: 3am
- Darwin, NT: 4:30am
- Adelaide, SA: 4:30am
- Brisbane, QLD: 5am
- Sydney, NSW: 5am
- Canberra, ACT: 5am
- Melbourne, VIC: 5am
- Hobart, TAS: 5am
How Can I Watch The NBA In Australia?
Foxtel / ESPN
NBA games are not broadcast on free-to-air TV in Australia. However, ESPN, part of Foxtel’s Sports package, airs every game of the playoffs, so no matter how long each series goes for or who you barrack for, this is a viable option.
Foxtel packages can be pricey – the current sports package costs $55 per month and has a $100 installation fee when you sign up to get a Foxtel box. If you want the sports channels in HD, that will costs an extra $10 a month. As we’ve mentioned many times before, Foxtel Now, a dedicated streaming service you can use without a box, has a two-week free trial period for new users. That won’t see you through to the end of the NBA Finals, but if you're savvy, you could sign up for the package just before the NBA Finals begin and make sure you catch the final seven games of the year.
So if you do wish to use ESPN for the entire season, the cheaper option is the Foxtel Now package which will cost you $39 per month and allow you to stream the channel via your tablet, smartphone, PC, Chromecast, Telstra TV, PS4 or compatible smart TV. You can have up to three registered devices at a time. The caveat: while it’s $21 a month cheaper than the HD install option, Foxtel Now only streams in 720p - but the quality is so much better than it was last year, and this is a strong choice if you have to see every game. Your total spend will end up being around $80.
NBA League Pass
If you haven't already signed up for an NBA League Pass, then you can do so now at a discounted rate. Usually, the service will cost you $300 a year (or $40 a month) but with only two months of basketball left to play the rate has dropped to $99.99 to cover the rest of the year. Of course, you'd be foolish to do that when there is under two months left. Instead, grab the monthly subscription, which will cost you $40 and end up spending $80 to watch the rest of the season.
Another way to stream games is through online betting agencies, subject to some terms and conditions that make accessing them a little restrictive. This is still pay-to-watch, it’s just that in this case, you have a chance of getting your money back. For instance, William Hill suggests that you can stream and bet on every NBA Game Live. However, in the fine print there are some eligibility criteria that must be met:
- You must have a positive balance in your betting account
- You must have placed a wager in the preceding 24 hours
Bet365 offer live streaming too, with similar terms and conditions: You must have a funded Sports account or have placed a bet within the last 24 hours.
Ladbrokes also offers some matches but, having spoken to a representative of the company, they don't advertise this routinely due to 'feed instability'
Like I always recommend, Reddit is a valuable resource when it comes to searching for one-off links to games. It’s a community where people are more than willing to share links. Some of those links are sports related. In this case, if you look at the Reddit community r/nbastreams, you may be able to find links to specific matches on game day. This is not always limited to the NBA games either, so if you’re interested in basketball leagues around the world, it’s worth checking in at the subreddit.
Can I Stream The NBA In Australia For Free?
Well, no. You won't have access to any official streams for free - unless the NBA Australia portal is showing them, but you may find links through the aforementioned Reddit community.
Go Spurs Go! If you have any hints or tips about watching NBA games in Australia - let us know in the comments