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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is among the most popular sports in the world. It’s played in pretty much every nation you deserve to think of. The National Basketball Association, which is a member of USA Basketball and also recognized by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) together the nationwide governing body for basketball in the united States, is composed of teams each precious billions of dollars. The NBA Finals alone draws tens of numerous viewers every year.

You are watching: How many quarters are in a basketball game

Many pan watch basketball because 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 before Steph Curry to be swishing three-pointers indigenous the half-court line, basketball to be boring and also in decrease in the 1950s.


The implementation that the shot clock basically saved the game and also put fans in the seats as soon as it was introduced. Before it, NBA teams can hold the round for as lengthy as they’d like as soon as they had a lead. The result? final scores prefer 19-18 once the Fort Wayne Pistons defeated the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean smith made a life implementing a “four corners” stall offense in college that was unstoppable due to the fact that there to be no shoot clock.

The game the basketball and its rule — for which there space plenty — have actually been revised transparent the year to placed the best possible product on the court possible.

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

How long Is one NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA games are separated into 4 quarters, every of which last 12 minute long. That way there space 48 total minutes of beat in a single game. Halftime provides played a 15-minute rest to allow them to rest in in between the second and third quarter. Every overtime duration lasts five minutes.


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

How long Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball games are contempt different. NCAA men’s basketball games consist of of 2 20-minute halves, including up to 40 complete minutes of video game time. Each overtime period is 5 minutes long. NCAA women’s university games are played in 4 10-minute quarters just favor WNBA games are. Both take about two hours from begin to finish.

Most high school basketball games in the United says are play in 8-minute quarters, but that different from state come state.

How The shoot Clock readjusted Basketball

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AP Photo/Michael Okoniewski

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

The shoot clock fully revolutionized the game. Point out soared, together did attendance. Some stated it conserved basketball, others stated it rescued it. Either way, everyone was in favor of it.


The NBA right now uses a 24-second shoot clock. This method teams should shoot the ball before that time expires, or rather they lose possession of the ball. The shot clock resets to 14 seconds in the NBA after ~ an offensive rebound ~ above a missed shoot or cost-free throw the hit the rim.

The national Collegiate strong Association (NCAA) currently offers a 30-second shoot clock for both men and also women’s basketball matches. The league introduced a 45-second shooting clock in 1985 and reduced it come 35 2nd in 1993 prior to landing ~ above a 30-second shooting clock in 2015.

How countless Timeouts room In a Basketball Game?

The video game clock stops a whole lot in the NBA, i beg your pardon is why the league has tried to rate up gamings by limiting the variety of timeouts teams deserve to call. As of the 2017-18 season, NBA teams are allowed seven timeouts per game. Each team is likewise only afforded two timeouts in the last three minutes, a readjust of speed from when it could speak to three timeouts in the final two minutes.

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

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts per game, two of which deserve to roll over into the second half. In addition, teams get one 60-second timeout that have the right to be dubbed at any time the the game. High school gamings follow a similar model to university rules.


#DidYouKnow in january 1951,Indianapolis Olympians & Rochester Royals fought 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 eventually win the
NBA championship the season in a thrilling seven-game collection over the
NYKnicks pic.twitter.com/bfI3XFORcx

— NBA history (
NBAHistory) may 4, 2019


There’s a reason the NBA has actually stricter time constraints now. Look no more than a game played on January 6, 1951, for just why that is.

The Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians squared turn off in a (not so epic) game that wound increase lasting a complete time the 78 minutes and also six overtimes, good for the longest NBA basketball game in history. The bout, which took ar at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, brand-new York, was at some point won by the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that simply 18 points to be scored in the timeframe the the whole six overtimes. No team scored in the second and 4th overtimes. Why? due to the fact that the team who began with the sphere tended come wait because that the clock to run out prior to throwing increase the last shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ more than 26 of the 30 overtime minutes, the ball stayed nicely tucked far under an eight of a imperial or Olympian player. One or one more player simply stood there with the score tied, waiting out the clock because that a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers who complained were melted up at the unchallenged freeze. For the Olympians, it sure wasn?t great basketball, yet it paid off.”


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

The Longest video game in NCAA History


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

— OTBS online (

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

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The sports of basketball has come a long method since the pre-shot clock days. I’m not sure we’ll ever before see another six- or seven-overtime game, and also that’s more than likely for the best. The average points per game per team is the highest its been since the 1980s, so sit ago and reap the fireworks.

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