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Ronald Martinez via Getty Images

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

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Many pan watch basketball since it’s usually nonstop action. But prior to LeBron James to be gliding coast-to-coast for a dunk or prior to Michael Jordan was hitting clutch jump shots or even before Steph Curry was swishing three-pointers from 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. Prior to it, NBA teams might hold the sphere for as long as they’d like once 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 since there to be no shoot clock.

The game that basketball and also its rules — for which there space plenty — have been revised throughout the year to put the best feasible product top top the court possible.

That being said, one pushing question many brand-new fans questioning is: exactly how long is a basketball game? that answer varies since different rules exist because that the countless levels that basketball that include professional basketball, Olympic basketball, university basketball, high school and also youth basketball.

How long Is an NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA games are separated into 4 quarters, every of which critical 12 minutes long. That way there room 48 full minutes of pat in a single game. There’s a 15-minute halftime break to enable players to remainder in between the second and third quarter. If the video game is tied in ~ the end of regulation, there’s a 5-minute overtime period.


The average length of a basketball video game in the NBA lasts almost everywhere from 2-3 hrs after factoring in team timeouts, clock stoppages for substitutions, replay reviews, shooting fouls, TV timeouts because that commercial breaks, halftime breaks, breathers and other stoppages. Most game lengths are around two and also a fifty percent hours.

How long Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball gamings are slightly different. NCAA basketball games for men consist of 2 20-minute halves, adding up come 40 complete minutes of game time. Each overtime duration is five minutes long. NCAA women’s college games space played in 4 10-minute quarters just like WNBA games are. The lot of time that takes to finish a video game is about two hours.

Most high institution basketball gamings in the United claims are played in 8-minute quarters, but that varies from state to 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 shot clock throughout scrimmages. The result was a faster, higher-scoring video game that the NBA officially embraced for the 1954-55 season.

The shot clock totally revolutionized the expert basketballgame. Point out soared, together did attendance. Some claimed it conserved basketball, others said it rescued it. One of two people way, everyone was in favor that it.


The NBA currently uses a 24-second shot clock. This way teams should shoot the ball before that time expires, or rather they shed possession of the ball. The shot clock resets come 14 secs in the NBA ~ an attack rebound top top a missed shooting or complimentary throw the hit the rim.

The national Collegiate athletic Association (NCAA) currently provides a 30-second shoot clock because that both men and also women’s basketball matches. The league introduced a 45-second shot clock in 1985 and also reduced it come 35 2nd in 1993 before landing ~ above a 30-second shoot clock in 2015.

How countless Timeouts are In a Basketball Game?

The gameclock stops a totality lot in the NBA, i beg your pardon is why the league has tried to speed up gamings by limiting the number of timeouts teams deserve to call. As of the 2017-18 season, NBA groups are permitted seven timeouts every game. Every team is likewise only afforded two timeouts in the final three minutes, a readjust of speed 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 permit 100-second timeouts and also “20-second” timeouts the were actually more like 60 seconds.

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts every game, two of which have the right to roll over right into the 2nd half. In addition, teams gain one 60-second timeout that can be referred to as at any type of time of the game. High school gamings follow a similar model to college rules.


#DidYouKnow in jan 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 at some point win the
NBA championship the season in a trembling seven-game collection over the
NYKnicks pic.twitter.com/bfI3XFORcx

— NBA background (
NBAHistory) might 4, 2019


There’s a factor the NBA has actually stricter time constraints now. Watch no further than a game played top top January 6, 1951, for simply why the is.

The Rochester Royals and also Indianapolis Olympians squared 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 location at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, new York, was at some point won through the Olympians.

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


From the Rochester Democrat: “ much more than 26 of the 30 overtime minutes, the sphere stayed nicely tucked far under an arm of a imperial or Olympian player. One or an additional player simply stood there through the score tied, waiting the end the clock for a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers that complained were burned up at the unchallenged freeze. Because that the Olympians, it sure wasn?t good basketball, but it paid off.”


Booooooring. That’s a far cry from the time Tracy McGrady scored 13 point out in 33 seconds, a feat the actually happened in a skilled basketball league and also is quiet 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 virtual (

As for college basketball, the longest video game in NCAA men’s basketball background was a similar 75-minute, seven-overtime game between Bradley and Cincinnati in 1981. That came before 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 before see an additional six- or seven-overtime game, and also that’s most likely for the best. We arguably have actually the ideal collection of basketball football player ever and also regular-season games are starting to come to be as exciting as the playoffs. No to mention, the typical points per game per team is the highest that is been because the 1980s, therefore sit earlier and gain the fireworks.

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