How to watch the Christmas NBA fixtures in 2022 using a VPN

One tradition some folks might not be aware of is that the NBA always has games lined up for Christmas Day. When most other sports and their participants will be ensconced in front of a TV to watch It's a Wonderful Life for the 97th time since December 1st, the NBA will be putting on a show for eager fans.

This year there are five games lined up for Christmas Day with an impressive roster of talent on show. But how do you watch these games? What channels are they showing on and who exactly is playing? Can you even access them from outside of the US? We've got you covered with this handy guide.

 

How to watch the Christmas NBA fixtures

The problem with watching the NBA this Christmas is that, unless you want to pay to get access through a second party like BT Sport, these games are unavailable to anyone outside of the USA. They air only on ESPN and ABC, which are geo-restricted to the US. That's where a VPN can make your life a lot easier. With a VPN, you can make your device appear to be located back home in the US, and be able to watch all the basketball you could want. Follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Choose your VPN, ideally one with a number of US-based servers. We've listed the best VPNs for streaming the NBA further down in the article.
  2. Download and install the software on your device of choice.
  3. Connect to a VPN server in the USA.
  4. Log in with your cable TV account and enjoy the game!

Why do you need a VPN to watch the NBA on Christmas Day?

Unlike other streaming services like Amazon, Tidal or Netflix, which allow you to register directly with them for an account, getting access to the NBA is a little more complicated. You can't just sign up because their content is only available to people who have an account with a US cable TV provider such as AT&T, Dish or DirecTV.

Which teams are playing?

Here's the full list of games available to watch on Christmas day (all times shown in US Eastern):

  • 12:00 – Atlanta Hawks/New York Knicks (ESPN)
  • 14:30 – Boston Celtics/Milwaukee Bucks (ABC)
  • 17:00 – Golden State Warriors/Phoenix Suns (ABC)
  • 20:00 – Brooklyn Nets/Los Angeles Lakers (ABC and ESPN)
  • 22:30 – Dallas Mavericks/Utah Jazz (ESPN)

The best VPNs for watching the NBA this Christmas

These are the best VPN services for streaming the Christmas day NBA fixtures. 

ExpressPVN is a market-leading offering, with a combination of speed and security that’s hard to beat. A perfect choice for streaming the NBA no matter where you are.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      49% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • TrustedServer tech runs in RAM only
    • Lightway protocol
    • A huge number of servers in America
  • Cons

    • Not the cheapest VPN provider
    • Only 5 simultaneous connections
    • No port-forwarding means it's not the best for torrenting
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo
ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is one of the most well known VPN providers around for a reason, and it's not just because of its many sponsorship deals with Youtubers! It offers a blend of speed, security and usability that appeals to gamers, streamers and the average web user alike. With over 160 locations in 94 countries, ExpressVPN also has 23 different locations in the US to make sure you'll be able to find and connect to a US server to stream NBA games with ease this Christmas.


A wealth of features to choose from


Express offers plenty of advanced features to help you stream the NBA games in total privacy and security. It's obfuscated (stealth) servers mean you can cloak your VPN usage, making it look like regular traffic, and helping to bypass even the most severe government censorship.



Couple that with a split-tunneling feature, and you can stream the basketball in America, while still accessing local services like online banking. Express even went a step further and created a WireGuard encryption implementation, called Lightway, which promises a faster, more secure VPN experience for Express' customers.


TrustedServer security


One of ExpressVPN's biggest selling points, other than its speed and reliability, is that it boasts "TrustedServer Security". This is ExpressVPN's server technology which has been audited by independent firm PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), who were brought in to make sure that Express were walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to security Add to this a recent security assessment of the Lightway protocol by cybersecurity company Cure53, and it's clear that ExpressVPN put the security of their users at the center of everything they do.


Protect Every Device


As well as the NBA this Christmas Day, folks will want to connect to the internet to try out their new devices, play new games, and ExpressVPN can provide security for all of them. Yes, even little Timmy with his shiny new Nintendo Switch. As well as having apps for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, you can even use ExpressVPN with your router, ensuring that every device that connects to the internet will do so securely. No more worrying about remembering to connect to the VPN, all your internet traffic is automatically secured with the ultimate fire and forget solution!

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

Tested by Shaun Dewhirst

With 5200 servers located over 60 countries, NordVPN is a great all round option for accessing not just the NBA but most other streaming services.

  • Pricing

    • Holiday Special - 24 months: $3.71/mth
      69% OFF
    • 24 months: $4.13/mth
      66% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.92/mth
      58% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • 5000+ servers
    • Fast servers make for seamless streaming
    • Plenty of features to choose from
  • Cons

    • OpenVPN config requires tech knowledge
    • Torrenting only on specific servers
    • No port-forwarding
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Nord Demo

Nord Demo
Nord Demo


NordVPN has been around since 2012, and it has established a solid reputation as a great VPN provider. With a huge number of servers and the ability to unblock content all around the world backed up by top rate security and privacy features, we think it's an all round great choice for anyone looking for a VPN, whether that be for watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel or catching the NBA on Christmas Day.


Speedy Connections


As well as security online, the biggest concern VPN users have is speed. Nobody wants their online privacy to come at the price of the internet running at a snail's pace. Luckily, this isn't something you need to worry about with NordVPN and its super fast NordLynx protocol. Our own testing has shown that NordVPNs speeds are more than enough for streaming, gaming and torrenting.


You can even check them for yourself right here with our handy VPN Speed Testing Tool. NordVPN is regularly right at the top of our charts for connection speeds around the world, which means you can game, watch movies, and stream the NBA without worrying about it turning into a slideshow.


Features For Days



Speed isn't everything, though. A fast VPN that lets people snoop on you is no good. A fast VPN that broadcasts your IP and location to everyone is no good either, so what about the other stuff? What about security and privacy? NordVPN offers Onion Over VPN servers, which allows you to connect to the Tor network. This lets you access .onion websites without needing to use the Tor browser.


It also has Double VPN/Multi-hop servers, so your traffic goes through two different VPN servers for double the encryption. Nobody's going to be peeking at what you're streaming this Christmas with NordVPN. You're perfectly safe to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol for the 24th time.


Pause and Reflect


As well as being able to set it to start when you boot up your machine/mobile device, another nifty feature NordVPN offers is the ability to pause your VPN connection. With NordVPN's speeds, it's easy to forget you're connected at all and then you end up thoroughly confused when you try to go to your local Amazon site and somehow end up on Amazon Japan.


With the pause feature, you can quickly pause your connection, do your online shopping or banking, and then the connection will turn itself back on when the time has elapsed. No need to remember to do it manually. It's another handy feature that just makes NordVPN a more user-friendly product for anyone looking to stream the NBA this Christmas.

Tested by Danka Delić

Tested by Danka Delić

Private Internet Access is an easy to use, no-logs provider that offers torrenting on all their servers, an ad blocker and more. A great choice for any basketball fan.

  • Pricing

    • 26 months: $2.69/mth
      77% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.33/mth
      72% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Fast connection speeds for streaming
    • 10 simultaneous connections
    • A user-freindly interface
  • Cons

    • No app whitelisting
    • Some issues with Netflix, but dedicated streaming servers exist to combat it
    • Based in America - but has provien its no-logs claims in court... twice
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

PIA Demo

PIA Demo
PIA Demo


Private Internet Access is a dependable option for those looking for a competitively priced VPN with a commitment to user security. If you're looking for torrenting, unblocking streaming platforms, and solid protection for a great price then they're definitely worth your time, especially if unblocking content in Europe or America is a priority for you as this is where you will find the bulk of their servers.


From Sea to Shining Sea


With nearly 30,000 servers in 78 countries, PIA has a server fleet that's the envy of many, but if you are looking to connect to servers over in Asia or the Middle East, they're perhaps not the best bet. Their servers are heavily concentrated in the USA and in Western Europe, which is brilliant for anyone wanting to unblock Britbox or, in this case, ESPN and ABC to get access to the NBA's Christmas games.


With over 7500 servers in the US you're all but guaranteed to find a good, strong connection to watch the games no matter where in the world you happen to be.


Not Just for Basketball



PIA is a great choice for more than just streaming the NBA and Christmas movies. Perhaps you're a fan of watching music or gameplay over on sites like Twitch TV. PIA is a splendid choice for sites like Twitch. As mentioned before, it has a huge number of servers, giving you plenty of choices for where you want to connect to.


It's also pretty fast and pretty cheap which is always a tempting proposition. Finally, its court-proven no-logs policy means that you won't get caught streaming anything you're not supposed to. Not that we would ever accuse anyone of doing that!


Stay Anonymous


Paying for PIA is a snap with its multitude of payment options. They've got you covered with the mainstreams choices like Paypal, Visa and Amazon Pay, but maybe you want something a bit more anonymous? Maybe you're currently a resident somewhere streaming is banned and basketball is the sport of the devil! That latter one is unlikely, admittedly, but PIA has options for you if that is the case.


You can pay with cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitpay and if that's STILL not secure enough, then you can even pay with gift cards from Walmart, Best Buy and more! Nobody's going to come banging on your door to demand you stop watching the NBA this Christmas when you use PIA, that's for sure.

Tested by Hannah Hart

Tested by Hannah Hart

With a smorgasbord of security and privacy options, PrivateVPN is a strong pick for anyone looking to watch the NBA this Christmas.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months + 12 months FREE: $2.49/mth
      79% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • Dedicated IPs for streaming
    • An automatic kill-switch means greater protection
    • Port-forwarding makes it ideal for torrenting
  • Cons

    • Smaller than competitors
    • No browser extensions
    • Based in a 14-Eyes country
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo
PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN might not be as big as some of the other options on this list, but it's no slouch when it comes to streaming, which is an important factor for anyone looking to unblock the NBA games this Christmas. With 200+ servers locations in 63 countries, a selection of different protocols to choose from and apps for most commonly used devices, PrivateVPN's focus is squarely on being a fast, secure VPN without some of the bells and whistles you'll find with other providers in this list.


Connect in Safety


Just because it's more focused on connectivity than anything else doesn't mean that it's insecure. It supports all the most up-to-date VPN protocols (with the exception of WireGuard), and has plenty of other security features to keep you safe online such as DNS leak protection to make sure the names of the websites you visit aren't visible to anyone, a kill-switch to protect your data if your connection drops and even a stealth mode to bypass VPN blocks.


Streaming Performer



Click on the location option in the app, and you can pick from any of PrivateVPN's 200+ servers. It also used to offer specific servers for Netflix and other streaming services, but now you just choose the country you want to use and click the connect button.


PrivateVPN boasts support for Netflix in 21 different countries, including the USA, Canada, and the UK. To help you pick the best location close to where you are, you can view ping times for each server location to help find the best option for you and with 12 American locations you've plenty of choice for accessing ESPN and ABC.


HQN Speed


One of the things PrivateVPN is very proud of is how it has set up its network, specifically something called HQN - High Quality Network. Some VPN providers purchase their internet service from a hosting company who has purchased their capacity from a what's known as an IP transit provider. This can cause higher latency and low speeds, both of which are bad things for gaming and streaming.


PrivateVPN, on the other hand, purchases its capacity directly from the IP transit provider, which, in theory, means that its network should be quicker than others. This means you won't need to worry about any network issues when you're trying to watch the NBA.

Tested by Hannah Hart

Tested by Hannah Hart

Surfshark is both affordable and loaded with features. Featuring an adblocker and stealth servers it’s a great choice for watching the NBA this Christmas.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $2.49/mth
      80% OFF
    • 6 months: $6.49/mth
      49% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • SmartDNS functionality
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections makes it perfect for protecting every device in a 5-mile radius
    • Ad and malware blocking available
  • Cons

    • Split-tunneling is only available on Windows and Android devices
    • Single-month pricing is pretty expensive
    • Some features require additional costs
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo
Surfshark Demo


Surfshark is anything but a bottom feeder in the VPN space. With split-tunneling tools, multi-hop servers for extra security and unlimited simultaneous connections, it ensures the entire family can sit and watch the NBA on every device they own at the same time with no trouble.


More than just a VPN


Surfshark offers a whole host of features to choose from, turning the VPN into a full-blown security suite for your protection. It's got a custom DNS service that offers SmartDNS technology that helps it get past geo-restrictions. On top of that, Surfshark has its own ad and malware blocker called CleanWeb – perfect when you've accidentally clicked on the wrong "streaming" site.


For a small additional fee you can also get Surfshark Alert, which alerts you if your accounts have been compromised, in the same way as sites like HaveIBeenPwned, and it's even got a privacy-first search tool called Surfshark Search.


Oceans of Choice



For access to ABC and ESPN, having a good selection of US based servers is a necessity and Surfshark doesn't disappoint. As well as some impressive coverage in South America and Asia, it has 600+ servers in 23 different US cities, offering a wealth of options for connecting and unblocking US-based content.


Surfshark works with more than just the big streaming providers like Amazon and Netflix, but others like Hotstar, DAZN, BBC iPlayer and more. Add to this Surfshark's unlimited simultaneous connections and this means that if you have someone in the house who isn't a basketball fan, they can stream to their heart's content from some other service while you enjoy the NBA.


New Kid on the Block


Despite only being around since 2018, Surfshark has established itself as a serious player in the VPN market. It brings an impressive amount of functionality, backed up with solid security and masses of customization and encryption options.


Not only does it use the most up-to-date VPN protocol with WireGuard, ensuring your connections to ESPN will be fast and secure, it's recently been independently audited to make sure it practices what it preaches. We think it's a great choice for all your sport streaming needs this Christmas.

Tested by Sam Dawson

Tested by Sam Dawson

Can I use a free VPN to watch the NBA this Christmas?

While there are some free VPNs that we recommend, you'll struggle to unblock the NBA games with them. Unfortunately, even the best free VPNs come with data and speed restrictions which could see you waiting anxiously for a buffering wheel to go away, or even worse, could cut you off from watching the game altogether! Add to that, most free VPNs come with the following alarming issues:

  • Very few server locations to choose from (there's no guarantee you'll be able to access American content)
  • Questionable privacy policies and practices (some VPNs have been known to steal your bandwidth)
  • Slow servers due to congestion – lots of people take advantage of free VPN servers, meaning server speeds quickly become sluggish, and in some cases, totally unusable
  • Some free VPNs are scams – with little regard for you or your privacy, and should be avoided at all costs
  • Not all free VPNs offer secure encryption – just because it says VPN doesn't mean it'll actually be able to protect you

Unfortunately, even the best cheap VPN is a better alternative to a free VPN, and we've recommended some excellent value-for-money providers.

Conclusion

If you're wanting to watch the NBA games this Christmas, but aren't in America, you're going to need a VPN. Fortunately, we've nailed down the best services for the job. Here's a quick reminder of our top picks for VPNs for unblocking the NBA games this Christmas:

From $6.67/Month

The best VPN for unblocking the NBA games this Christmas – with 160 server locations in 94 countries.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
10 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
5
Server Locations
94 countries
Free Trial
No

From $3.71/Month

A feature-rich and super-fast VPN that doesn't break the bank.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.9 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
6
Server Locations
60 countries
Free Trial
No

From $2.69/Month

A solid all round choice for torrenting, streaming and gaming.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.8 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
10
Server Locations
78 countries
Free Trial
No

From $2.49/Month

6 simultaneous connections, unlimited bandwidth and strong security make PrivateVPN a tempting choice.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.7 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
10
Server Locations
63 countries
Free Trial
No

From $2.49/Month

With a kill switch for security, NoBorders mode and Multihop, Surfshark is the VPN for the security minded.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.6 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Server Locations
65 countries
Free Trial
Yes

FAQS:

Written by: Shaun Dewhirst

Shaun is a former IT Support Engineer who got tired of asking people if they'd tried turning it off and on again. After a few years working in that strange and nebulous industry known as "The Blockchain" he escaped a maximum security stockade to the Hertfordshire Underground. Today he survives as a reviewer of good coffee, bad movies and as a technical writer right here at ProPrivacy.

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