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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is among the most renowned sports in the world. It’s played in pretty much every country you deserve to think of. The National Basketball Association, i beg your pardon is a member the USA Basketball and recognized by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) together the nationwide governing body for basketball in the united States, consists of teams each precious billions the dollars. The NBA Finals alone paint, etc tens of numerous viewers every year.

You are watching: How many quarters in a basketball game

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


The implementation the the shot clock essentially saved the game and put fans in the seats as soon as it was introduced. Prior to it, NBA teams could hold the ball for as lengthy as they’d like once they had actually a lead. The result? final scores choose 19-18 when the Fort Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean smith made a life implementing a “four corners” stall offense in college that was unstoppable since there was no shot clock.

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

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

How long Is an NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA gamings are split into four quarters, every of which last 12 minute long. That means there room 48 total minutes of beat in a single game. Halftime gives played a 15-minute break to permit them to remainder in in between the 2nd and third quarter. Each overtime duration lasts 5 minutes.


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

How lengthy Is a university 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 come 40 complete minutes of video game time. Every overtime period is 5 minutes long. NCAA women’s college games room played in 4 10-minute soldier just prefer WNBA games are. Both take about two hrs from start to finish.

Most high school basketball gamings in the United states are play in 8-minute quarters, but that varies from state come state.

How The shoot 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 began implementing a 24-second shoot clock throughout scrimmages. The result was a faster, higher-scoring video game that the NBA officially embraced for the 1954-55 season.

The shoot clock fully revolutionized the game. Clues soared, together did attendance. Some claimed it conserved basketball, others claimed it rescued it. One of two people way, everyone was in favor of it.


The NBA currently uses a 24-second shot clock. This means teams have to shoot the ball before that time expires, or rather they lose possession that the ball. The shoot clock resets come 14 secs in the NBA after an attack rebound on a missed shoot or cost-free throw that hit the rim.

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

How plenty of Timeouts space In a Basketball Game?

The game clock stop a whole lot in the NBA, i beg your pardon is why the league has actually tried to rate up games by limiting the number of timeouts teams deserve to call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA teams are permitted seven timeouts every game. Each team is likewise only afforded 2 timeouts in the last three minutes, a change of pace from when it could speak to three timeouts in the last two minutes.

Each timeout in these experienced games last 75 seconds. The NBA provided to permit 100-second timeouts and “20-second” timeouts the were actually much 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 obtain one 60-second timeout that deserve to be called at any time of the game. High school games follow a similar model to college rules.


#DidYouKnow in january 1951,Indianapolis Olympians & Rochester Royals combated over six OVERTIMES to decide 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 actually stricter time constraints now. Watch no additional than a video game played ~ above January 6, 1951, for simply why the is.

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

What’s horrendous is that simply 18 points were scored in the timeframe the the entire six overtimes. Neither team score in the 2nd and fourth overtimes. Why? due to the fact that the team who started with the ball tended come wait because that the clock to operation out before throwing up the last shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ an ext than 26 of the 30 overtime minutes, the sphere stayed neatly tucked away under an eight of a imperial or Olympian player. One or one more player simply stood there v the score tied, waiting the end the clock because that a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers that complained were melted up in ~ the unchallenged freeze. Because that the Olympians, it certain wasn?t good basketball, yet it payment off.”


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

The Longest video 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 for college basketball, the longest game in NCAA men’s basketball history was a similar 75-minute, seven-overtime game in between Bradley and also Cincinnati in 1981. That came before a shoot clock was enforced as well.

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The sport of basketball has come a long means since the pre-shot clock days. I’m not certain we’ll ever see one more six- or seven-overtime game, and that’s more than likely for the best. The typical points per game per team is the highest that been because the 1980s, so sit ago and gain the fireworks.

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About the author: Patrick Pinak, employee Writer
Patrick extended the Florida Gators during the forgettable will certainly Muschamp and also Jim McElwain eras prior to spending two periods writing for significant League Baseball. He"s a baseball junkie who spends his work defending Derek Jeter and also the Miami Marlins. He stays in southern Florida yet his love belongs in Gainesville, Florida.