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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is one of the most famous sports in the world. It’s play in pretty lot every country you can think of. The National Basketball Association, i m sorry is a member that USA Basketball and also recognized by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) together the nationwide governing body for basketball in the united States, consists of groups each precious billions of dollars. The NBA Finals alone draws tens of countless viewers every year.

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

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


The implementation that the shot clock basically saved the game and put fans in the seats when it was introduced. Before it, NBA teams could hold the sphere for as lengthy as they’d like when they had a lead. The result? last scores favor 19-18 when 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 because there to be no shooting clock.

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

That being said, one pressing question many new fans asking is: just how long is a basketball game? that answer varies due to the fact that different rules exist for the countless levels that basketball that encompass professional basketball, Olympic basketball, college basketball, high school and youth basketball.

How lengthy Is one NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA games are split into 4 quarters, every of which critical 12 minute long. That method there are 48 complete minutes of pat in a single game. Halftime provides played a 15-minute break to permit them to remainder in in between the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Every overtime duration lasts 5 minutes.


The average size of a basketball 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 other stoppages. Most video game lengths are about two and a half hours.

How lengthy Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball gamings are contempt different. NCAA men’s basketball games consists of 2 20-minute halves, adding up come 40 complete minutes of game time. Each overtime duration is 5 minutes long. NCAA women’s college games space played in 4 10-minute quarters just favor WNBA games are. Both take about two hours from begin to finish.

Most high college basketball games in the United claims are played in 8-minute quarters, but that varies 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 began implementing a 24-second shoot clock during scrimmages. The an outcome was a faster, higher-scoring game that the NBA officially embraced for the 1954-55 season.

The shoot clock totally revolutionized the game. Clues soared, as did attendance. Some said it saved basketball, others stated it rescued it. One of two people way, everyone was in favor the it.


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

The nationwide Collegiate strong Association (NCAA) currently supplies a 30-second shot clock for both men and also women’s basketball matches. The league introduced a 45-second shot clock in 1985 and reduced it to 35 second in 1993 prior to landing on a 30-second shooting clock in 2015.

How numerous Timeouts space In a Basketball Game?

The game clock stops a whole lot in the NBA, which is why the league has actually tried to rate up games by limiting the number of timeouts teams have the right to call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA teams are enabled seven timeouts per game. Every team is also only afforded two timeouts in the last three minutes, a adjust of pace from when it could contact three timeouts in the final two minutes.

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

The NCAA permits 3 30-second timeouts every game, 2 of which have the right to roll over right into the 2nd half. In addition, teams obtain one 60-second timeout that can be referred to as at any type of time of the game. High school games follow a similar model to college rules.


#DidYouKnow in january 1951,Indianapolis Olympians & Rochester Royals dealt with 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 thrilling seven-game collection over the
NYKnicks pic.twitter.com/bfI3XFORcx

— NBA background (
NBAHistory) may 4, 2019


There’s a reason the NBA has stricter time border now. Look no additional 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 that 78 minutes and six overtimes, great for the longest NBA basketball video game in history. The bout, i beg your pardon 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 were scored in the timeframe of the whole six overtimes. Neither team score in the 2nd and fourth overtimes. Why? because the team who started with the sphere tended come wait because that the clock to operation out before throwing up the final shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ an ext than 26 of the 30 overtime minutes, the sphere stayed nicely tucked far under an eight of a imperial or Olympian player. One or another player just stood there with the score tied, waiting out the clock for a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers who complained were melted up at the unchallenged freeze. Because that the Olympians, it sure wasn?t good basketball, however it paid off.”


Booooooring. That’s a much cry from the moment Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in 33 seconds, a feat the actually occurred in a skilled basketball league and is still remarkable.

The Longest 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 digital (

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

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The sports of basketball has actually come a long means since the pre-shot clock days. I’m not certain we’ll ever see another six- or seven-overtime game, and also that’s most likely for the best. The mean points per game per team is the highest that been due to the fact that the 1980s, so sit earlier and gain the fireworks.

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