By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Apr 26, 2023 at 4:56 PM Photography: Dan Garcia

After falling short of defending their 2021 title last season, the Milwaukee Bucks are back in the playoffs, back at Fiserv Forum and back in the hunt for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. 

The arduous journey back to the NBA mountaintop will first bring the Miami Heat to the Bucks in the first-round series. The Heat are the lowest seed on the Eastern Conference side of the bracket, barely clinching a spot after sleepwalking through an play-in tournament opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks before coming back to beat the Chicago Bulls. That being said, the Heat still have Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and head coach Erik Spoelstra. Add in the fact that the former champs and current NBA top seed are going to get every team's best shot, and Bucks-Heat should be a thrilling start to the postseason. After all, the Heat and Bucks have oddly notable recent playoff meetings; in the bubble, the Heat upset the Bucks on their way to the Finals while two seasons ago, the Bucks returned the favor, sweeping Miami on their way to a championship. What will this matchup portend?

Bragging rights are on the table – as well as a critical step toward reclaiming their NBA crown. So yeah, you're not going to want to miss a single dribble now that the games are as real as they can get.

Unable to snag the hottest tickets in town to watch the Bucks extinguish the Heat live and in person at Fiserv Forum? And all out of spots at any sports bar viewing parties? You can still obviously keep up with Giannis and company on your screens at home. But where exactly can you find the games? And where can you find them if you've cut the cord? Here's a viewing guide for watching the Bucks turn Miami into mincemeat. 

Regular TV listings

For those who've kept the cord, finding the Bucks playoff games is easier than Giannis running a 3-on-1 breakaway. Here's the guide to where the Bucks-Heat series will be showing on national television:

  • Game 5 – Wednesday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV
  • Game 6 (if necessary) – Friday, April 28 at TBD
  • Game 7 (if necessary) – Sunday, April 30 at TBD

For the hometown calls, Bally Sports Wisconsin will also broadcast the entire first round as well – particularly useful for games coming on the more limited NBA TV channel. And as for listening to the games, you can find the glorious sound of Giannis slam dunks at 620 WTMJ.

Streaming options

So you've cut the cord. You might be able to find a nice patio showing the game or on a TV at your local watering hole, but your best bet for taking in what will hopefully be a Miami meltdown courtesy of the Bucks will be streaming the game from the comfort of your lucky couch in the living room. Here are your best streaming options for following the Bucks in the first round from home.

Live television streaming services

So you've cut the cord – but you likely haven't cut yourself off from the world of sports and pop culture, which means you probably have a live television streaming service like Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, FuboTV or DirecTV Stream. (The other major streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Peacock and Apple TV+ – as popular as they are, are just starting to dip into live sports programming.)

For this first round matchup, the Bucks-Heat are all over the cable map – but thankfully just about all of the live television streaming services offer most, if not all, of the networks needed to keep up. Most of these streaming services cost around $70 a month or more, while Sling's orange plan (the one needed for sports networks) is cheaper at just $40 per month. 

Things get a little more complicated, however, with some first-round games coming on the more niche and limited NBA TV. All but Hulu with Live TV offer the channel – albeit mostly for an extra charge. Sling TV, for instance, includes NBA TV but with a sports add-on, costing an extra $11 a month. FuboTV's pro package doesn't have NBA TV but its slightly more expensive $85 Elite package does, while DirecTV Stream requires the $99.99 Choice plan in order to get the basketball channel. YouTube TV is the only one that offers the channel with its standard package. Fans can also subscribe directly to NBA TV on its website for $14.99 a month.

  • Sling TV (orange plan): ESPN and TNT for $40 a month, NBA TV with an additional $11 basketball bundle (ABC is unavailable but ESPN3 carries ABC broadcasts)
  • Hulu with Live TV: ESPN, ABC and TNT for $69.99 a month (NBA TV is unavailable)
  • YouTube TV: ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV for $72.99 a month
  • FuboTV: ESPN and ABC for $74.99 a month with the pro plan; those two and NBA TV for $84.99 a month with the Elite plan (TNT is unavailable)
  • DirecTV Stream: ESPN, TNT and ABC for $74.99 a month; those three and NBA TV for $99.99 a month with its Choice package

A bonus reminder: These streaming services typically offer some kind of free trial period, so if you time it right – and make sure you remember to cancel before the cutoff date – you could possibly score a few playoff games without having to dig into your wallet even once. 

And with any future games on ABC, one of the best – and cheapest – ways to get those contests on your TV is simply with an antenna, which are very inexpensive, easy to find and require no monthly payments or subscriptions. No streaming silliness necessary!

TV channel apps/websites

So you've cut the cord ... but you probably have friends or family who haven't. We're not saying you SHOULD ask for their cable account info so you can log in and watch the games on these channels' streaming apps ... but if you were to do that, download the ESPN or TNT apps onto your streaming device of choice (Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV or Amazon Fire stick), sign in using a borrowed provider username and password, and watch away.

You can also watch on your computer screen by popping over to the networks' respective websites, then sign in using a valid provider username and password. For future ABC and ESPN broadcasts, ESPN3 – the sports behemoth's online streaming hub – should provide access right smack-dab in the middle of the ESPN home page, with the same going for any future games on TNT as well (just on TNT's website instead). In both cases, you can just click on the front page's link to the game, plug in the requisite info and watch away. (ABC games may not even require all of that, just showing the game – no sign-ins needed.) Congrats, you now have access to the games – no cable necessary. Well, SOMEBODY'S cable is necessary. 

All of these approaches obviously work if you have cable as well. Just download the channels' apps or go to their websites, and punch in your info. But ... you also have cable. And maybe an antenna too. So, you can also just watch the games on television as usual.  

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.