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Celtics vs Heat live stream: How to watch game 1 of NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals online

Jayson Tatum of Boston Celtics and Jimmy Butler of Miami Heat could both feature in the Celtics vs Heat live stream
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Editor's note: With game 1 in the books, check out our Celtics vs Heat live stream for game 2 preview.

Tonight's Celtics vs Heat live stream marks the second time in the last three seasons these two teams will battle it out for a trip to the NBA Finals.  In the 2020 "bubble" it was the Heat winning the Eastern Conference finals, taking that best-of-seven series over the Celtics 4-2. Now Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will look for a different outcome starting with this NBA playoffs live stream.

Celtics vs Heat live stream channels

Next game: Game 1, Boston @ Miami at 8.30 p.m. ET tonight (Tuesday, May 17).
Where to watch in the U.S.: The Celtics vs Heat game is set to air on ESPN. ESPN is available on Sling TV (opens in new tab), currently on sale at 50% off for the first month (opens in new tab).
Watch from anywhere: with ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).

The Celtics are riding a high after bouncing the reigning NBA Champion Bucks out of the playoffs. Their second round series with Milwaukee went a full seven games, which Boston dominated to the toon of a 109-81 victory in the decisive game.

Jayson Tatum has led his team with 28.3 points-per-game in the playoffs, third best of anyone still in the postseason and he has hit 50% of this three-point attempts over the Celtics' last two games on 12-of-24 shooting.   

Boston will need Tatum to be on top of his game tonight as they will be without both Al Horford and Marcus Smart. Horford is in health and safety protocol while Smart is dealing with a foot injury. 

The Heat earned the number one seed in the East with a regular season record of 53-29 and overall had the third most wins in the NBA. So far this postseason they have swept the Hawks out of the playoffs, before eliminating the Sixers in six games. The key to Miami's success has been the play of veteran guard Jimmy Butler. 

Now 32 years old, Butler has shown no signs of slowing down at either end of the floor. His defense has been on point, helping the Heat allow the fewest points-per-game (97.5 ppg) in the playoffs, while his 28.7 points-scored-per-game ranks him just above Tatum for second among players still chasing the Championship. 

Boston was able to win their regular season series with the Heat 2-1, despite playing two games in Miami. The Heat are 1.5-point favorites in Game 1. The over/under is 204. 

How to watch Celtics vs Heat live streams from anywhere on Earth

Having trouble actually getting ESPN or TNT? Even if you can't watch the Celtics vs Heat live streams on cable, you're not out of luck. With a virtual private network, or VPN, you can appear to be surfing the web from your home town (or somewhere that blackouts won't hit), and access the same streaming services you already paid for. 

Not sure which VPN is right for you? We've tested many different services and our pick for the best VPN overall is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab). It offers superb speeds and excellent customer service. But you've got other VPN options as well. Here's our top pick.

We think speed, security and simplicity make ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) second to none. During our tests, we saw fast connection times, and we're impressed by the service's ability to access more than 3,000 services spread out across 160 locations in 94 countries. 

Celtics vs Heat live streams in the U.S.

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The Celtics vs Heat live streams are going to be on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. today (Tuesday, May 17). 

If you've already cut the cord and don't have a cable package? With the right pick from our best cable TV alternatives, you'll be able to watch all of these games. But for as much as we like FuboTV, it fails here without TNT, a must have for NBA fanatics.

Instead, you should get Sling TV, one of the best streaming services. ESPN and TNT are both included in the Sling Orange package, which costs $35, which is pretty low for live TV services (and the lowest rate for one with ESPN). Sling is a perfect place to watch all of the NBA playoffs, as ABC games will simulcast on ESPN3. Sling Orange gets you TNT, ESPN, ESPN3, and its Sports Extra pack gets you NBA TV.

You could also pull down ABC with one of the best TV antennas.

Sling TV (opens in new tab): You can get ESPN and TNT in the Sling Orange package. The 30-plus channels in the lineup include AMC, CNN, Food Network, AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV and many more. And it's currently offering 50% off the first month!

Celtics vs Heat live streams schedule

All times below are in ET.

* = If necessary

  • Game 1: May 17 at 8.30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Game 2: May 19 at 8.30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Game 3: May 21 at 8.30 p.m. (ABC)  
  • Game 4: May 23 at 8.30 p.m. (ABC)
  • Game 5*: May 25 at 8.30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Game 6*: May 27 at 8.30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Game 7*: May 29 at 8.30 p.m. (ESPN)

Celtics vs Heat live streams in the UK

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NBA fans in the U.K. need look no further than Sky Sports (opens in new tab) for all their Playoff needs. Sky will be showing all games on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena, though the timings aren't great for U.K. fans, with games typically starting at 1.30 a.m. BST.

If you already have a Sky subscription that doesn't include Sports, you'll need to pay £22/month to add those channels. You'll also gain access to coverage in 4K and HDR, so long as you also have an HDR-ready Sky Q box and HLG-compatible TV.

You could also consider the Sky NBA League Pass (opens in new tab), which offers every NBA game for just £14.99/month, plus loads of extra features including archived games on demand — helpful if you want to watch the next day — condensed replays and more. 

If you don't want to shell out for a full Sky sub, you could also consider its Now (opens in new tab) Sports streaming service. This gives you 24-hour access for £9.99 or month-long access for £33.99 but Sky is currently offering a great deal here: you can sign up for six months of access for just £25/month right now (opens in new tab). Now Sports is available on virtually every streaming device out there and is a great option if you don't already have Sky. 

Not in the U.K. right now? You may need a little help from a service such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).

Celtics vs Heat live streams in Canada

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Hoops fans in Canada can catch Celtics vs Heat live streams on TSN (opens in new tab)

Celtics vs Heat Game 1 starts at 8:30 p.m. ET today (Tuesday, May 17)

If you're having trouble finding all the games, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) may be your ticket.

Celtics vs Heat live streams in Australia

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Aussies can watch the Celtics vs Heat live stream on Kayo Sports (opens in new tab), which has every one of the NBA Conference playoff games this year. But beware the time difference: you'll need to go by the above lists and add 14 hours to convert ET to AEST.

Kayo offers a 14-day free trial for both its Basic and Premium plans, more than enough time to watch the playoffs. The Basic package costs $25 per month thereafter. 

The $35 per month Premium Kayo plan gives you all the same things as the normal plan, but it offers three simultaneous streams. The Basic plan gives you two streams at the same time. 

Not in Australia but usually a Kayo subscriber? You may need a little help from a service such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).

VPN statement

Marc is a contributing sportswriter at Tom’s Guide covering the NFL, NBA and MLB as well as various other leagues. He is a graduate of Temple University where he studied Broadcasting and Journalism. Marc’s previous stops include the Trenton Times and NBC Sports Philadelphia. He also worked on the production crew of NBC Sunday Night Football for 11 seasons. When not working, Marc is probably sipping his next espresso to get him ready for more work.