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How to watch NBA opening night games

Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
(Image credit: Getty Images - Photo by Gregory Shamus)

It’s time to head back to the court as the 2021-2022 NBA season is here and will feature a pair of opening night games that fans won’t want to miss.

The preamble of the preseason is over and the NBA regular season officially tips off on Tuesday, Oct. 19. The first game of the season will feature Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks against Kevin Durant, James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets. Opening night will then conclude with Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers hosting Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Both games are airing on TNT, with Nets vs Bucks starting at 7:30 p.m. ET and Warriors vs Lakers getting going at 10 p.m. ET.

The Nets vs Bucks is a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals from last season, a classic series that went the full seven games and had the Bucks just edging out the Nets. The Bucks are returning almost all of their key players from last year’s championship roster, led by Antetokounmpo and featuring Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brooks Lopez and George Hill. The Nets, meanwhile, have two of the best players in the game in Durant and Harden, backed up by a strong supporting cast that includes Blake Griffin, Patty Mills, Joe Harris and La’Marcus Aldridge, but they will be missing Kyrie Irving, who is not with the team because of his stance on not getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Out on the west coast, the Warriors vs Lakers is a matchup between two of the most popular teams in the league, each of which are coming off disappointing seasons. Both the Lakers and the Warriors had to take part in the play-in games for the playoffs, with the Lakers beating the Warriors to advance; though they were then eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Of course, you can never count teams with Lebron James and Steph Curry. James’ Lakers also include Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, and new to the team this year Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. For the Warriors, while the splash brothers aren’t reunited just yet (Klay Thompson is still recovering from an injury), Curry is playing alongside Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and Jordan Poole.

So that’s the opening night lineup, but how can you watch it?

How to watch NBA opening night games in the U.S.

Both the Nets vs Bucks and Warriors vs Lakers games will be broadcast on TNT, one of the mainstream cable channels in the U.S. As such, the channel is included on just about every major cable/satellite pay-TV provider. It is also included as part of the channel package on live TV streaming services like DirecTV Stream, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.  

You can also watch NBA games through the TNT app, though you need to be a subscriber to one of the above services to do so. 

How to watch NBA opening night games in the U.K.

For any basketball fans over in the U.K., they can tune in for opening night of the NBA on Sky Sports, which will broadcast both the Nets vs Bucks (12:30 a.m. GMT) and Warriors vs Lakers (3 a.m. GMT) live.

Sky Sports is the home of the NBA in the U.K. for the 2021-2022 season. Check listings to see what games will be available throughout the season.

How to watch NBA opening night games from anywhere in the world

If none of the above options are available or to your liking, another alternative is to use a virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN. A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer. 


ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with action from anywhere in the world.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.