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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is one of the most famous sports in the world. It’s played in pretty much every country you can 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 because that basketball in the joined States, consists of groups each precious billions that dollars. The NBA Finals alone color etc tens of countless viewers every year.

You are watching: How many quarters in a basketball game

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


The implementation the the shot clock essentially saved the game and also put fans in the seats as soon as it to be introduced. Before it, NBA teams could hold the round for as long as they’d like when they had actually a lead. The result? final scores like 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 the was unstoppable due to the fact that there to be no shot clock.

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

That gift said, one pushing question many new fans asking is: how long is a basketball game? that answer varies because different rules exist for the many levels the basketball that encompass professional basketball, Olympic basketball, college basketball, high school and also youth basketball.

How lengthy Is an NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA gamings are divided into four quarters, every of which critical 12 minutes long. That means there are 48 complete minutes of beat in a single game. Halftime gives played a 15-minute break to permit them to remainder in between the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Every overtime duration lasts five minutes.


The average length of a basketball video game in the NBA lasts everywhere from 2-3 hours 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 a fifty percent hours.

How lengthy Is a university Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball games are slightly different. NCAA men’s basketball games consists of 2 20-minute halves, including up to 40 total minutes of game time. Each overtime period is five minutes long. NCAA women’s university games are played in four 10-minute soldier just choose WNBA games are. Both take around two hrs from begin to finish.

Most high school basketball gamings in the United says are play in 8-minute quarters, however that varies from state to state.

How The shooting 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 general manager Leo Farris started implementing a 24-second shot clock throughout scrimmages. The an outcome was a faster, higher-scoring video game that the NBA officially adopted for the 1954-55 season.

The shot clock totally revolutionized the game. Points soared, together did attendance. Some claimed it saved basketball, others stated it rescued it. Either way, everyone was in favor of it.


The NBA at this time uses a 24-second shot clock. This means teams must shoot the ball prior to that time expires, or rather they shed possession the the ball. The shot clock resets come 14 secs in the NBA after an offensive rebound on a missed shot or complimentary throw that hit the rim.

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

How many Timeouts space In a Basketball Game?

The game clock stop a whole lot in the NBA, i m sorry is why the league has actually tried to speed up games by limiting the variety of timeouts teams can call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA groups are enabled seven timeouts every game. Every team is additionally only afforded 2 timeouts in the final three minutes, a change of pace from as soon as it could contact three timeouts in the final two minutes.

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

The NCAA permits 3 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 that the game. High school games follow a comparable model to university rules.


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

— NBA background (
NBAHistory) might 4, 2019


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

The Rochester Royals and also Indianapolis Olympians squared turn off in a (not therefore epic) game that wound up lasting a complete time of 78 minutes and 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, brand-new York, was ultimately won through the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that just 18 points to be scored in the timeframe that the whole six overtimes. No team scored in the second and fourth overtimes. Why? because the team who began with the sphere tended come wait for the clock to operation out prior to throwing up the last shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ more than 26 that the 30 overtime minutes, the sphere stayed nicely tucked far under an arm of a royal or Olympian player. One or one more player simply stood there with the score tied, waiting the end 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 certain wasn?t an excellent basketball, yet it payment off.”


Booooooring. That’s a far cry from the moment Tracy McGrady score 13 point out in 33 seconds, a feat the actually occurred in a expert basketball league and 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 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 history was a comparable 75-minute, seven-overtime game in between Bradley and also Cincinnati in 1981. That came before a shot clock was implemented as well.

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The sport 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 more than likely for the best. The mean points per video game per team is the highest that is been due to the fact that the 1980s, so sit ago and gain the fireworks.

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