Christmas Day NBA games 2018: Start times, how to watch online and more

Merry Christmas, cord-cutting NBA fans.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

I'm not sure what's more exciting to my son: Santa coming down the chimney or Stephen Curry pulling up at the three-point line. It's probably the former, but he won't have to choose. I've got it on good authority that Santa will be making a stop at our house this year, and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors are set to play again on Christmas Day. 

NBA fans will get the gift of a star-studded quintuple header of games on Dec. 25 that will feature LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbook, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. 

Things tip off at 12 noon ET and will last well past midnight in the East. If you cut the cord this year and still want to get in on the NBA action (it's fantastic), here's what you need to know.

Christmas 2018 NBA schedule


Time (ET)


Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks

12 p.m.


Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets

3 p.m.


Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

5:30 p.m.


Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors

8 p.m.


Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz

10:30 p.m.


How to stream the games

If your goal on Christmas is to watch all five games, you'll need a streaming package that offers ABC and ESPN. I can find you such a thing, but live TV varies by region and streaming service, so you'll need to check the channel lineup in your area to make sure you can watch a live feed of your local TV stations, namely ABC for three of the Christmas Day NBA games.

DirectTV Now

DirectTV Now's basic $40-a-month Live a Little package includes ABC and ESPN. Click here to check availability of live local channels in your area.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue's $45-a-month Access plan includes ABC and ESPN. Check out which live, local networks you get on the PlayStation Vue Plans page.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV costs $40 a month and includes ABC and ESPN. Check to see which live channels Hulu offers in your area.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is currently available in dozens of major metro markets, with more being added all the time. It costs $40 a month and includes ABC and ESPN.

Sling TV

Sling TV's $25-a-month Orange package includes ESPN, but Sling TV does not currently offer ABC in any of its plans or add-ons.

WatchESPN app

You can stream the first four Christmas Day games broadcast on ABC or ESPN via WatchESPN on your computer or the WatchESPN app, but you will need to prove you have a TV subscription that includes ESPN.

Over-the-air antenna

For the games on ABC, you can use over-the-air digital antenna. We have a few, cheap suggestions for the best indoor antennas.

Watch this: How to cut the cord like a pro

Originally published on Dec. 22, 2017.
Update, Dec. 20, 2018: Updated with this year's slate of games.

Best live TV streaming services for cord-cutters: The Big Five compared.