Perhaps as an incentive to get people to stay indoors for longer periods of time, the NBA has decided to make its League Pass service free until April 22. The service is normally a package that allows fans to watch all live games during the season. But with the games suspended until further notice, this free version of League Pass comes with access to every game played this season as well as a selection of classic games.
Everyone who takes advantage of this opportunity will obviously have different viewing priorities whether it’s focusing on games from their favorite team, or games where their favorite players went off — heck, they could even be motivated to watch games where their least favorite players and teams ended up losing.
For those who don’t have specific NBA allegiances that still want to use this service, the options can be rather overwhelming. To help you narrow down which games to watch until the end date, here are 12 must-see games to watch on NBA League Pass separated into two categories: classic games and modern games.
Best classic games on NBA League Pass
Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 5, Eastern Conference Finals (May 31, 2007)
Reason to watch: Sure, it’s impressive that LeBron James scored 48 points against a strong Pistons team known for their stout defense, but even more incredible is how he single-handedly scored the Cavs’ final 25 points. Just a reminder that every Cleveland success before 2010 was a result of LeBron dragging his team kicking and screaming into victory
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Jan. 22, 2006)
Reason to watch: This is Kobe Bryant’s legendary 81-point performance against the Raptors. Is there anything else needed to be said?
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors, Game 2, Eastern Conference second round (May 9, 2001)
Reason to watch: Allen Iverson’s MVP season was filled with many heroic performances that involved him taking full control over a game in order to get his team a win, and that stretch continued into the postseason. During what would become the first of two seven-game series against tough Eastern Conference opponents, Iverson put the Sixers on his back and dropped 54 points in front of the home Philadelphia crowd on 21-of-39 shooting against the Raptors.
Seattle Supersonics vs. Denver Nuggets, Game 5, Western Conference first round (May 7, 1994)
Reason to watch: Who doesn’t love a good upset? This Denver victory clinched a surprise series win from the No. 8-seed Nuggets over the No. 1-seed Supersonics. The game ends with one of the most iconic images in NBA history: Dikembe Mutombo lying on his back clutching the basketball and screaming in victory after his team’s accomplishment.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls, Game 5, Eastern Conference first round (May 7, 1989)
Reason to watch: Speaking of iconic images, this was the game where Michael Jordan hit “The Shot” over the outstretched arms of a soon-to-be-distraught Craig Ehlo to win the series for the Bulls. It capped off a 44-point performance that ended with a couple celebratory fist pumps after the win.
Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks, Game 7, Eastern Conference first round (May 22, 1988)
Reason to watch: Though the Celtics-Lakers bouts of the 1980s helped launch the NBA into the multi-billion dollar global enterprise it is today, one could argue that Boston’s most entertaining game didn’t even happen against its west coast rival. In Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals, there might as well have only been two players on the court: Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird. The Human Highlight Reel dropped 47 points while trying to get his team to the conference finals, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Celtics and Bird, who finished with 34 points with 20 coming in the final frame.
Best 2019-20 games on NBA League Pass
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Mar. 6, 2020)
Reason to watch: This game was hyped up to be a potential preview of the NBA Finals. While the status on when this season’s Finals will happen, if at all, is up in the air, you can rewatch this inter-conference heavyweight bout that more than lived up to what it was advertised to be with 69 points between Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Sacramento Kings (Jan. 27, 2020)
Reason to watch: That’s right, this list isn’t going to be all LeBron and Giannis games. The Kings’ overtime win over the Timberwolves had perhaps one of the wildest endings to a regulation game this season, with De’Aaron Fox forcing overtime by intentionally missing his late free throw, securing his own rebound and scoring the necessary bucket to tie things up.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs (Jan. 22, 2020)
Reason to watch: Zion Williamson has already well established himself as a dunking machine ready to explode at any given moment in college, but a knee injury delayed his NBA regular season debut. He starred in that eventual debut against the Spurs not because of his gravity-defying leaping abilities, but because of his accurate shooting. Williamson’s four consecutive three-pointers to keep the Pelicans in the game was a departure from the norm, and because of that, it created arguably his most exciting performance of the season.
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 28, 2019)
Reason to watch: It’s not necessarily a surprise that two talented teams competing against one another produced a very entertaining game from start to finish, but the reason it got that way is. Tyler Herro had been establishing himself well as one of the most confident rookies in the league, and he really showed out in this overtime thriller against Philadelphia. He not only dropped 16 points off the bench, but also made clutch shot after clutch shot to help his team eventually pull out the win.
Washington Wizards vs. Houston Rockets (Oct. 30, 2019)
Reason to watch: For the Wizards, Bradley Beal dropped 46 points and Davis Bertans exploded with 21 points off the bench. For the Rockets, James Harden did what James Harden does best and put up 59 points in what ultimately became the third-highest scoring game in NBA history, with 317 points scored between the two sides.
Memphis Grizzles vs. Brooklyn Nets (Oct. 27, 2019)
Reason to watch: This early season game features the full package of NBA entertainment. Ja Morant and Kyrie Irving duke it out over a battle of point guard supremacy, a rookie calling his own number to help drag his team to overtime and a buzzer-beater by a role player who would get traded from Memphis less than four months later.