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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is just one of the most famous sports in the world. It’s played in pretty lot every nation you deserve to think of. The National Basketball Association, i beg your pardon is a member the USA Basketball and recognized through FIBA (International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the unified States, consists of teams each precious billions that dollars. The NBA Finals alone color etc tens of numerous viewers every year.

You are watching: How many periods in a basketball game

Many pan watch basketball due to the fact that it’s usually nonstop action. But before LeBron James to be gliding coast-to-coast for a dunk or prior to Michael Jordan was hitting clutch run shots or even prior to Steph Curry to be swishing three-pointers indigenous the half-court line, basketball was boring and also in decrease in the 1950s.


The implementation that the shot clock essentially saved the game and also put pan in the seats as soon as it was introduced. Before it, NBA teams could hold the round for as lengthy as they’d like as soon as they had a lead. The result? last scores favor 19-18 when the Fort Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean blacksmith made a living implementing a “four corners” stall offense in college that was unstoppable because there to be no shoot clock.

The game of basketball and also its rule — because that which there are plenty — have actually been revised transparent the years to placed the best possible product top top the court possible.

That being said, one pressing question many new fans ask is: just how long is a basketball game? that answer varies since different rules exist for the many levels the basketball that encompass professional basketball, Olympic basketball, college basketball, high school and youth basketball.

How long Is one NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA gamings are separated into 4 quarters, every of which last 12 minutes long. That method there room 48 full minutes of beat in a single game. Halftime gives played a 15-minute break to allow them to remainder in between the second and third quarter. Each overtime duration lasts 5 minutes.


The average length of a basketball video game in the NBA lasts anywhere from 2-3 hrs after factoring in team timeouts, replay reviews, shoot fouls, TV timeouts, halftime breaks, breathers and other stoppages. Most video game lengths are about two and also a fifty percent hours.

How lengthy Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball games are contempt different. NCAA men’s basketball games consist of of two 20-minute halves, adding up come 40 full minutes of game time. Each overtime duration is 5 minutes long. NCAA women’s university games are played in 4 10-minute soldier just choose WNBA games are. Both take about two hours from begin to finish.

Most high college basketball gamings in the United states are play in 8-minute quarters, yet that different from state come state.

How The shoot Clock adjusted Basketball

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AP Photo/Michael Okoniewski

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Back in 1954, the Syracuse Nationals owner Danny Biasone and general manager Leo Farris started implementing a 24-second shooting clock throughout scrimmages. The result was a faster, higher-scoring video game that the NBA officially adopted for the 1954-55 season.

The shot clock totally revolutionized the game. Point out soared, as did attendance. Some claimed it saved basketball, others stated it rescued it. One of two people way, everyone remained in favor that it.


The NBA at this time uses a 24-second shooting clock. This means teams have to shoot the ball before that time expires, or else they lose possession that the ball. The shooting clock resets to 14 secs in the NBA after ~ an offensive rebound ~ above a missed shooting or free throw the hit the rim.

The national Collegiate strong Association (NCAA) currently supplies a 30-second shot clock for both men and women’s basketball matches. The league presented a 45-second shot clock in 1985 and reduced it to 35 second in 1993 before landing on a 30-second shot clock in 2015.

How many Timeouts room In a Basketball Game?

The game clock stop a entirety lot in the NBA, which is why the league has actually tried to rate up games by limiting the variety of timeouts teams have the right to call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA groups are permitted seven timeouts every game. Every team is likewise only afforded 2 timeouts in the final three minutes, a adjust of speed from when it could call three timeouts in the last two minutes.

Each timeout in these expert games last 75 seconds. The NBA supplied to allow 100-second timeouts and also “20-second” timeouts the were actually an ext like 60 seconds.

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts every game, 2 of which deserve to roll over right into the second half. In addition, teams gain one 60-second timeout that can be dubbed at any kind of time of the game. High school gamings follow a comparable model to university rules.


#DidYouKnow in january 1951,Indianapolis Olympians & Rochester Royals dealt with over six OVERTIMES to decision the winner? pic.twitter.com/aoiv9dhyZh

— NBAIndia (
NBAHistory was a regular-season game: Jan. 6, 1951: 6OT (78 minutes) Indianapolis Olympians 75, Rochester Royals 73. The Royals (photo) would at some point win the
NBA championship that season in a tremble seven-game series over the
NYKnicks pic.twitter.com/bfI3XFORcx

— NBA background (
NBAHistory) might 4, 2019


There’s a reason the NBA has stricter time limit now. Watch no further than a video game played on January 6, 1951, for just why that is.

The Rochester Royals and also Indianapolis Olympians squared turn off in a (not for this reason epic) game that wound increase lasting a complete time of 78 minutes and six overtimes, great for the longest NBA basketball video game in history. The bout, i beg your pardon took place at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, new York, was ultimately won by the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that simply 18 points to be scored in the timeframe that the entire six overtimes. No team scored in the second and 4th overtimes. Why? because the team who started with the ball tended come wait for the clock to run out before throwing up the final shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ much more than 26 the the 30 overtime minutes, the round stayed neatly tucked away under an eight of a royal or Olympian player. One or another player just stood there through the score tied, waiting out the clock because that a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers that complained were shed up at the unchallenged freeze. For the Olympians, it certain wasn?t great basketball, however it payment off.”


Booooooring. That’s a far cry from the time Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in 33 seconds, a feat that actually happened in a professional basketball league and also is still remarkable.

The Longest game in NCAA History


Today in #sportshistory in 1981 Cincinnati beat Bradley 75-73 in 7 OTs in the longest game in NCAA competition. Pic.twitter.com/Cfq9Vasua8

— OTBS digital (

As because that college basketball, the longest game in NCAA men’s basketball background was a similar 75-minute, seven-overtime game between Bradley and also Cincinnati in 1981. That came prior to a shot clock was enforced as well.

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The sports of basketball has actually come a long way since the pre-shot clock days. I’m not certain we’ll ever see another six- or seven-overtime game, and that’s probably for the best. The median points per game per team is the highest the been since the 1980s, so sit back and reap the fireworks.

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About the author: Patrick Pinak, employee Writer
Patrick covered the Florida Gators throughout the forgettable will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras before spending two periods writing for significant League Baseball. He"s a baseball junkie that spends his work defending Derek Jeter and also the Miami Marlins. He stays in south Florida but his heart belongs in Gainesville, Florida.