NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (2024)

NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (1)

Can Luka Dončić lead the Mavericks to just their second NBA title?


After eight months of grueling competition, 30 teams have been whittled down to just two.

The Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks are the last teams standing and will face off in the 2024 NBA Finals, which begin at TD Garden on Thursday, for a chance to etch their names into the history books.

How to watch

The NBA Finals will be broadcast exclusively on ABC in the United States.

In the UK, BBC One and TNT Sports will air the Finals, but international fans can also watch the best-of-seven series on NBA League Pass.

Celtics juggernaut?

With 64 wins, the Celtics were by far the most dominant team throughout the regular season and have continued that impressive run into the playoffs, losing just two games all postseason.

However, those wins come with the slight caveat of the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers missing key players – Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton, respectively – for all or part of those series.

Regardless, the Celtics have taken care of business in a supremely efficient manner this postseason and will be hoping that second-year head coach Joe Mazzulla can finally push the team over the top.

The Celtics have enjoyed incredible playoff consistency in recent seasons. This is the sixth time in eight years the franchise has reached at least the Conference Finals and the second time in three years Boston has reached the Finals. The coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy, however, has so far eluded them.

Victory in this year’s Finals would give the Celtics a record-breaking 18th NBA title, taking them past the Los Angeles Lakers as the most successful franchise in the league.

NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (2)

Jayson Tatum is heading to his second Finals.

Critics and opponents have at times maligned the Celtics as having a soft underbelly, with key players or the team as a whole struggling in the biggest moments; both last year’s shock loss to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and Jayson Tatum’s performances in the 2022 NBA Finals being examples of these concerns.

“There’s a lot that myself and we can learn from that experience, being in the Finals,” Tatum told reporters. “This go-around is a lot different. Obviously, we’ve been there before and we came up short. It’s a great opportunity to make it to Finals again, you don’t always get a second chance.

“I’m really just looking at it as a second chance, trying to simplify things as much as we can. It’s another series that we gotta win.

“Having nine days off [before the Finals] is good for your body and for everybody to get healthy, but we’re in the NBA Finals and we’re all so anxious and excited to play. I wish it did start a little bit earlier, so we could get after it, but we have a lot of guys of who been here before and we understand the magnitude of this moment and saying sharp, fresh and staying ready.”

But the team has shown impressive mettle this postseason, in particular in the Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers. Three times in that series, the Celtics found themselves down late but turned each of the games around to earn a sweep, thanks largely to series MVP Jaylen Brown.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Pacers had at least a 90% win probability during the fourth quarters of Games 1, 3 and 4.

NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (3)

Jaylen Brown was voted ECF MVP.

Can Luka emulate Dirk?

While the Celtics have been on a roll since day one, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t really turn their season around until February’s trade deadline.

The addition of more size and length in Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington has perfectly complimented the superstar backcourt of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, who have taken turns carrying the team throughout this playoff run.

Meanwhile, Dereck Lively II is capping off a mightily impressive rookie season by becoming a valuable rotation piece for the Mavericks this playoff run, while Derrick Jones Jr. has grown as a player and made some huge buckets in the postseason.

Though Dončić, who finished third in MVP voting, is still performing at a high level, a knee injury means he has struggled at times to reach the heights of the regular season; so much of Dallas’ success will rest on the Slovenian’s fitness and form.

Head coach Jason Kidd could further cement his place in Mavericks history by leading the team to the title. It has been 13 years since Kidd helped bring the franchise its first and only Larry O’Brien trophy as a player, assisting Dirk Nowitzki in a stunning Finals win over the Miami Heat.

NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (4)

Kyrie Irving has carried the Mavericks at times with Dončić struggling with injury.

“It was a tough road to get back here [the Finals],” Irving told reporters. “So I’m just appreciating all of the little steps that it took, appreciating all the people who helped me grow. It was a great reflection period the last couple of days just thinking about not only the past few years, but what we were able to accomplish this year in such a short period of time.

“How we galvanized the city of Dallas and our fans, and it just feels like we’ve got the whole world supporting us throughout this endeavor, so I’m appreciative and grateful for everything that I had to go through and everything my teammates had to go through in order to get here with me.”

Full schedule

All games are away vs. home

Game 1:Mavericks vs. Celtics, June 6 - 8:30 p.m. ET
Game 2:Mavericks vs. Celtics, June 9 - 8:00 p.m. ET
Game 3:Celtics vs. Mavericks, June 12 - 8:30 p.m. ET
Game 4:Celtics vs. Mavericks, June 14 - 8:30 p.m. ET
*Game 5:Mavericks vs. Celtics, June 17 - 8:30 p.m. ET
*Game 6:Celtics vs. Mavericks, June 20 - 8:30 p.m. ET
*Game 7:Mavericks vs. Celtics, June 23 - 8:00 p.m. ET

* If needed

NBA Finals: Key storylines, full schedule and how to watch | CNN (2024)


How can I watch the NBA Finals? ›

Every 2024 NBA Finals game will air on ABC and will be streaming on fubo (try for free).

How to watch NBA playoffs for free? ›

Fans can watch the NBA playoffs online for free by using the free trials offered by DirecTV Stream and Fubo TV. If both of those streaming methods have already been used, then Sling offers a first month discount to new users.

Who has home court advantage in NBA Finals 2024? ›

As the team with the better regular season record, Boston has home court advantage for the series. The series is played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, with the Celtics hosting Games 1 and 2, with the Mavs hosting Games 3 and 4.

Does Hulu have NBA Finals? ›

Stream the NBA Finals With Hulu + Live TV

Don't miss your shot at reliable, live coverage of the NBA Finals. Here's how to get started with Hulu + Live TV: Sign up, or log in with your Hulu credentials if you're already subscribed (current Hulu subscribers can switch to Live TV in the Account menu).

Can you stream NBA Finals on ABC? ›

Watch Anytime, Anywhere

Download the free ABC app on your smartphone, tablet or connected TV to stream full episodes of your favorite shows, watch live news and events, or discover new live streaming channels available to watch 24/7.

Is there an app to watch NBA for free? ›

All live streams are located within the “Watch” tab of the NBA App. Is NBA CrunchTime Free To Watch? Yes! NBA CrunchTime is free for all users in the U.S. An NBA League Pass subscription is not required.

Can you watch the NBA Finals on ESPN+? ›

You can watch the NBA Finals for free with the Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle. The bundle features 95 channels, including ABC, TNT, local network affiliates and ESPN. It also includes the ESPN+ streaming service.

Who decides home-court in NBA Finals? ›

How is home-court advantage determined in the NBA Finals? Unlike the first three rounds of the playoffs, where home-court advantage is granted based on seeding, the team with the better regular season record gets it in the NBA Finals. This year, the Celtics have the advantage in both seeding and record.

What is the format for the NBA Finals? ›

Both conferences conduct the playoffs in the traditional bracket format. All rounds are best-of-seven series. Series are played in the 2–2–1–1–1 format, meaning the team with home-court advantage hosts games 1, 2, 5, and 7, while their opponent hosts games 3, 4, and 6, with games 5, 6 and 7 being played if needed.

How to watch NBA finals for free? ›

Watch the NBA Finals for free with Fubo

You can also catch tonight's game on Fubo. Fubo is a sports-centric streaming service that offers access to ABC and ESPN, in addition to almost every NFL game next season. To watch the NBA Finals without cable, start a seven-day free trial of Fubo.

Where can I watch the NBA Finals 2024? ›

In what's sure to be another thrilling battle between two of the NBA's elite teams, you can watch every moment live on the ABC app from your smartphone and tablet (iOS and Android), computer on and connected devices (Roku, AppleTV and Amazon Fire TV).

Where can I watch Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics? ›

The Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics play on Monday, June 17 in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals. The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Pacific time (8:30 p.m. Eastern time) and can be seen on ABC (stream with free trial from FUBO).

Does the NBA League Pass include the playoffs? ›

Live games included in your subscription feature regular season out-of-market teams only. Nationally televised games and local team games televised in your area aren't available for live streaming with NBA League Pass. NBA playoff games are not included in your subscription.

What channel is the Celtics game on? ›

Boston Celtics games air nationally across ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT.

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