The 2021-22 NBA season is the 75th in league history. In honor of the diamond anniversary, the NBA's stars are ready to shine.
The games get started on Tuesday, Oct. 19 with a doubleheader on TNT featuring the Brooklyn Nets visiting the Milwaukee Bucks in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals (7:30pm ET), followed by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors taking on their in-state rivals, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (10pm ET). It’s the first of five straight days of nationally televised doubleheaders on TNT, ESPN, and NBA TV, and just the tip of the iceberg of their coverage throughout the season. Check out the NBA's full national TV schedule through Oct. 29 below, then stick around for more information on how to watch on Sling, a preview of the upcoming season, and more.
NBA (National TV Schedule)
Tuesday, Oct. 19 to Friday, Oct. 29
|Tuesday, Oct. 19|
|7:30 PM||Nets at Bucks||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|10:00 PM||Warriors at Lakers||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|Wednesday, Oct. 20|
|7:30 PM||Celtics at Knicks||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|10:00 PM||Nuggets at Suns||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|Thursday, Oct. 21|
|7:30 PM||Mavericks at Hawks||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|10:00 PM||Clippers at Warriors||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|Friday, Oct. 22|
|7:30 PM||Nets at 76ers||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|10:00 PM||Suns at Lakers||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|Saturday, Oct. 23|
|7:00 PM||Heat at Pacers||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|10:00 PM||Suns at Trail Blazers||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|Sunday, Oct. 24|
|7:00 PM||Celtics at Rockets||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|Monday, Oct. 25|
|7:30 PM||Wizards at Nets||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|10:30 PM||Trail Blazers at Clippers||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|Tuesday, Oct. 26|
|7:30 PM||76ers at Knicks||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|10:00 PM||Nuggets at Jazz||TNT||Sling Orange or Blue|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27|
|7:30 PM||Hawks at Pelicans||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|10:00 PM||Grizzlies at Trail Blazers||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|Thursday, Oct. 28|
|7:00 PM||Pistons at 76ers||NBA TV||Sports Extras|
|Friday, Oct. 29|
|7:30 PM||Hornets at Heat||ESPN||Sling Orange|
|10:00 PM||Mavericks at Nuggets||ESPN||Sling Orange|
How to Watch on Sling
All games on ESPN (or ABC, which airs sports on ESPN3 on Sling) or TNT will be available to Sling Orange subscribers. According to the NBA, “TNT will air 18 Tuesday doubleheaders and 12 Thursday doubleheaders in the 2021-22 season, while ESPN will televise 21 Wednesday doubleheaders and 13 Friday doubleheaders. Every doubleheader across both networks on those four nights will begin at 7:30pm ET/10pm ET.”
NBA TV will be in Free Preview on Sling from Oct. 19-26, but after that, you’ll need to add Sports Extras to your Sling package (Orange or Blue) to watch. NBA TV is scheduled to broadcast 107 regular season games this season, 20 of which will be part of the Center Court franchise. According to the league, Center Court will incorporate “enhanced viewing options such as unique camera angles, next-gen analytics and social media integrations into the originally produced telecast.”
If you live in a different market than your favorite team, you can catch all of their games by subscribing to NBA Team Pass. And lastly, if you’re a roundball diehard that wants to watch every game from every team, you can subscribe to the NBA League Pass. One thing to keep in mind, local blackout restrictions may apply. Now that you know how to watch on Sling, here’s what to watch for.
Pass the Bucks?
After a 50-year drought and a few disappointing early exits from the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks put it together and won it all last season. Giannis Antetokounmpo now has two MVPs and a ring before the age of 27, a trajectory that almost certainly ends with his jersey hanging in the Basketball Hall of Fame. In fact, with a supporting cast that includes Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and a new Greek prospect in Georgios Kalaitzakis, the Bucks could be in the early stages of a new dynasty. But with the title comes a new layer of pressure, not only internally but from the rest of the league, which will be sure to bring their A-game when facing the Bucks.
Big Three or Connect Four?
The biggest threat to the Bucks could come from one of the two super-teams on the coasts. The Brooklyn Nets’ Big Three might only be a Big Two, given Kyrie Irving’s perplexing stance on the league’s vaccination policy. But even if it is down to Kevin Durant and James Harden, Brooklyn is still formidable, as both former MVPs are capable of completely taking over a game on their own.
The Los Angeles Lakers will also be starting a pair of former MVPs, as the Lake Show traded for Russell Westbrook to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis as part of their rebuild around talented but aging veterans. Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard also joined the team as part of their shopping spree on free agents. So this year’s Lakers team will look quite different from the one that won the Finals just two years ago, but given their disappointing 20-21 season, it was probably time for something new.
Joker Still Wild?
In spite of the fact that some in the East Coast media may not be aware that the “J” in his name is silent, Nikola Jokić took home the MVP last year (for those unaware, it's YO-kitch). The Denver Nuggets star is almost opposite of what you expect from a big man: Joker's points often come on ugly little floaters and layups (he almost never dunks) but his passes are absolutely gorgeous. With an MVP and recent playoff success, the Nuggets are no longer sneaking up on anyone, but they have one of the deepest young rosters in the league, one that will be greatly bolstered when the explosive Jamal Murray returns from his knee injury later this season.
Simmons or Out?
After earning the No. 1 seed in the East last season, the Philadelphia 76ers playoff run came to a dramatic end when they were upset by the Atlanta Hawks in the semis. Ben Simmons shouldered most of the blame for his team’s collapse, and he and Philly seemed to agree a breakup was best for both parties. However, the offseason has come and gone without a trade, leading to an awkward reunion in the last few weeks. Although coach Doc Rivers has been trying to mend fences, it’s clear Simmons is disinterested (he was kicked out of practice and suspended by the team a day before their season starts). It’s not unlike the James Harden situation in Houston at the beginning of last season, and while a Simmons trade may not be an earthquake, it could still send ripples across the league.
Vax to the Future
The last storyline is one that none of us were hoping to revisit: the COVID pandemic. While the Associated Press reports that fully vaccinated players “will largely be back to business as usual,” the NBA is placing serious restrictions on the roughly 10% of players who are still unvaccinated. Additionally, unvaxed players may be subject to additional restrictions based on local COVID guidelines, which is how we ended up with the Kyrie Irving debacle. There aren’t any other players of his stature who have held firm on remaining unvaccinated, but it is a reminder that while the arenas may be returning to normal, the world at large is still anything but.
To watch the most NBA basketball on Sling, sign up for Sling Orange + Sports Extras using the link below.