ESPN will exclusively televise the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Finals presented by Verizon: the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, vs. either the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade or the Toronto Raptors and Kyle Lowry (Raptors lead series 3-2 as of 5/12). The series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 17, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. If a Game 7 between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors is not necessary, the Eastern Conference Finals will move up to Sunday, May 15, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. If there is a Miami-Toronto Game 7, that game will be played in the Sunday ABC window.
NBA Eastern Conference Finals telecasts are scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be preceded by one-hour editions of NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew, generally starting at 7:30 p.m. The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm will air Tuesday, May 17, at 8 p.m., leading into the Eastern Conference Finals game that evening. NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew will air from 7-8 p.m. that night.
ESPN NBA Eastern Conference Finals schedule
|Game 1||Tue, May 17||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 2||Thu, May 19||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 3||Sat, May 21||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 4||Mon, May 23||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 5 if necessary||Wed, May 25||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 6 if necessary||Fri, May 27||8:30 p.m.|
|Game 7 if necessary||Sun, May 29||8:30 p.m.|
*as previously noted, the series could move up to Sunday May 15, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC if there’s no Game 7 in the Miami-Toronto conference semifinals series.
ESPN NBA Eastern Conference Finals commentators
Play-by-play veteran Mike Breen, the voice of the NBA Finals, will be joined by analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson and reporter Doris Burke to form the telecast team. It will mark the sixth Conference Finals series that the full team has worked together. Sage Steele will host NBA Countdown – pregame and halftime shows – with analysts Doug Collins and Jalen Rose. This will be the trio’s third Conference Finals as a pregame and halftime team. In addition, Boston Celtics’ All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas will join the NBA Countdown team as a guest analyst for Games 3 and 4.
All NBA Eastern Conference Finals games and NBA Countdown telecasts will also be streamed via WatchESPN. ESPN Deportes is also scheduled to televise the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in its entirety.
Conference Finals on ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio will serve as the national radio home of both the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Western Conference Finals. For the Eastern Conference Finals, the duo of Marc Kestecher and analyst Jon Barry will describe the action. The Western Conference Finals, which will feature the Golden State Warriors vs. the Oklahoma City-San Antonio winner, will be called by Kevin Calabro and Basketball Hall of Famer and analyst Hubie Brown.
SportsCenter at the Conference Finals
ESPN will take SportsCenter on the road to both Conference Finals sites. Lindsay Czarniak is scheduled to host the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter on site in Cleveland prior to Game 1. SportsCenter is also scheduled to host the 6 p.m. SportsCenter on site at the Western Conference Finals. SportsCenter anchors, including Steve Levy and John Buccigross will provide post-game courtside coverage from the Eastern Conference Finals, while Kevin Connors and John Anderson will combine to provide post-game coverage from courtside throughout the Western Conference Finals. Stephen A. Smith will also be on site at the Eastern Conference Finals contributing to SportsCenter throughout the day, while Michael Wilbon will provide on-site coverage for SportsCenter at the Western Conference Finals.
ESPN’s new, daily NBA studio show – The Jump – will air Monday-Friday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN throughout the Conference Finals and NBA Finals. NBA Tonight – ESPN2’s nightly highlights and wrap-up show – will generally air at 1 a.m. throughout the remainder of the NBA Playoffs.
The NBA Eastern Conference Finals will also air on ESPN networks in 59 countries across Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim and on cruise ships. The NBA Western Conference Finals will air on ESPN networks in 16 countries across the Pacific Rim.
Additional Conference Finals schedule and coverage updates will be issued to media and will be available on ESPN Media Zone.