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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is among the a lot of famous sports in the human being. It’s played in pretty much eincredibly country you have the right to think of. The National Basketround Association, which is a member of USA Basketball and also well-known by FIBA (International Basketsphere Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the USA, consists of teams each worth billions of dollars. The NBA Finals alone draws 10s of millions of viewers annually.

You are watching: How long do basketball games last

Many fans watch basketball because it’s basically nonsheight action. But before LeBron James was gliding coast-to-coast for a dunk or prior to Michael Jordan was hitting clutch jump shots or even prior to Steph Curry was swishing three-pointers from the half-court line, basketround was boring and also in decline in the 1950s.


The implementation of the swarm clock fundamentally conserved the game and also put fans in the seats when it was presented. Prior to it, NBA groups can hold the sphere for as long as they’d prefer when they had actually a lead. The result? Final scores choose 19-18 as soon as the Ft Wayne Pisloads defeated the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean Smith made a living implementing a “4 corners” stall offense in college that was unstoppable bereason there was no swarm clock.

The game of basketball and its rules — for which tbelow are plenty — have actually been revised throughout the years to put the best possible product on the court possible.

That being shelp, one pressing question many kind of brand-new fans ask is: How long is a basketround game? That answer varies because various rules exist for the many levels of basketsphere that encompass expert basketround, Olympic basketball, college basketround, high college and youth basketsphere.

How Long Is an NBA Basketround Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA games are split into 4 quarters, each of which last 12 minutes lengthy. That implies tbelow are 48 complete minutes of play in a single game. Halftime provides played a 15-minute break to enable them to remainder in in between the second and also 3rd quarter. Each overtime duration lasts 5 minutes.


The average length of a basketsphere game in the NBA lasts almost everywhere from 2-3 hours after factoring in team timeouts, replay reviews, shooting fouls, TV timeouts, halftime breaks, breathers and also various other stoppages. Most game lengths are around 2 and a fifty percent hours.

How Long Is a College Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Rictough Shiro

College basketround games are slightly different. NCAA men’s basketround games consist of 2 20-minute halves, including approximately 40 full minutes of game time. Each overtime period is five minutes lengthy. NCAA women’s college games are played in 4 10-minute quarters just like WNBA games are. Both take about two hrs from begin to finish.

Most high institution basketround games in the United States are played in 8-minute quarters, however that varies from state to state.

How The Swarm Clock Changed 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 swarm clock during scrimmeras. The outcome was a faster, higher-scoring game that the NBA officially adopted for the 1954-55 season.

The shot clock totally changed the game. Points soared, as did attendance. Some said it saved basketball, others shelp it rescued it. Either way, everyone was in favor of it.


The NBA currently supplies a 24-second shot clock. This indicates groups need to shoot the sphere before that time expires, or else they lose possession of the round. The shot clock resets to 14 secs in the NBA after an offensive rebound on a missed swarm or cost-free throw that hit the rim.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently offers a 30-second swarm clock for both guys and women’s basketsphere matches. The league introduced a 45-second shot clock in 1985 and decreased it to 35 second in 1993 prior to landing on a 30-second shot clock in 2015.

How Many kind of Timeouts Are In a Basketround Game?

The game clock stops a whole lot in the NBA, which is why the league has tried to speed up games by limiting the variety of timeouts groups have the right to speak to. As of the 2017-18 seakid, NBA teams are enabled seven timeouts per game. Each team is likewise only afforded two timeouts in the last three minutes, a readjust of pace from once it might speak to three timeouts in the final 2 minutes.

Each timeout in these professional games last 75 seconds. The NBA provided to permit 100-second timeouts and also “20-second” timeouts that were actually more favor 60 secs.

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts per game, 2 of which have the right to roll over right into the second half. In enhancement, teams get one 60-second timeout that deserve to be dubbed at any time of the game. High institution games follow a comparable model to college rules.


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

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

— NBA History (
NBAHistory) May 4, 2019


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

The Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians squared off in a (not so epic) game that wound up lasting a complete time of 78 minutes and also 6 overtimes, good for the longest NBA basketround game in background. The bout, which took location at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, New York, was eventually won by the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that simply 18 points were scored in the timestructure of the whole 6 overtimes. Neither team scored in the second and fourth overtimes. Why? Since the team who started through the sphere tfinished to wait for the clock to run out prior to throwing up the last swarm.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ even more than 26 of the 30 overtime minutes, the round stayed neatly tucked amethod under an arm of a Royal or Olympian player. One or an additional player simply stood there through the score tied, waiting out the clock for a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers who complained were burned up at the unchallenged freeze. For the Olympians, it sure wasn?t excellent basketball, yet it paid off.”


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

The Longest Video Game in NCAA History


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

— OTBS Online (

As for college basketsphere, the longest game in NCAA men’s basketsphere history was a similar 75-minute, seven-overtime game between Bradley and also Cincinnati in 1981. That came prior to a swarm clock was implemented as well.

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The sport of basketsphere has come a long way because the pre-swarm clock days. I’m not certain we’ll ever watch one more six- or seven-overtime game, and that’s probably for the ideal. The average points per game per team is the highest possible its been since the 1980s, so sit earlier and reap the fireworks.

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About the author: Patrick Pinak, Staff Writer
Patrick extended the Florida Gators throughout the forgettable Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras before spending 2 periods writing for Major League Baseround. He"s a baseround junkie that spends his days defending Derek Jeter and also the Miami Marlins. He lives in South Florida but his heart belongs in Gainesville, Florida.