How Long Is a NBA Game? – Time of Basketball Games

Basketball is one of the hottest and most anticipated sports on the planet. However, newbies may not be sure about NBA game length. So, how long is an NBA basketball game?

An average NBA game time usually lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours. However, that is not an exact number for all leagues or associations.

Scott Fujita will tell you the duration of specific basketball matches according to NBA, FIBA, NCAA, or NFHS rules.

how long is a nba game

An NBA game usually lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours 

How Long Is A NBA Game?

A typical NBA game usually lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours. However, that is not an exact number for all leagues or associations.

As we also mentioned above, basketball game time will vary from league to league. In the National Basketball Association (NBA), each period will be 12 minutes. Total playing time will be up to 48 minutes for the fourth-quarter game. The overtime period lasts for 5 minutes in a NBA game.

Half time between 2nd and 3rd periods is 15 minutes. However, this is only theoretical time. Many factors make the time of an NBA match stretch to even 2 hours. It is a bit longer than the FIFA games. 

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Basketball game time is often longer because of commercial breaks 

How Long Are Fiba Basketball Games?

According to The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, a game will have four quarters. Each basketball quarter lasts 10 minutes, and the total basketball match will be 40 minutes. Compared to the time the NBA game lasts, FIBA games have shorter quarters. 

In addition, there are additional regulations on the rest time between quarters:

  • Basketball teams will have about 20 minutes to prepare before the game begins.
  • The halftime between the first half and second half is 2 minutes.
  • The half time between the 2nd and 3rd quarters is 15 minutes. The two teams need time to switch pitches and proceed to the next quarters.
  • The half time between the 3rd and 4th quarters is 2 minutes.
  • The time between the extra quarters is 2 minutes.

Overtime periods take place when both teams play all four quarters but still haven’t found a winner. If the team scores more goals in the first extra time, that team wins. At this point, the game will end.

Conversely, if the first overtime does not decide the winner, both teams will continue to play in the subsequent overtime. The halftime of FIBA games will start when the game clock sounds to announce the end of the half.

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Each FIBA basketball quarter lasts 10 minutes 

How Long Does a Basketball Game Last in NCAA Rule?

NCAA means the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

College basketball games’ time is two halves of 20 minutes each. The total game time is about 2 hours 10 minutes. The half time between halves of the college games is 15 minutes. The overtime of a college basketball game is 5 minutes.

How Long Is a High School Basketball Game?

The NFHS is the organization that regulates the playing time of high school basketball games. Accordingly, high school games have four quarters. Each basketball quarter lasted eight minutes. The halftime is 10 minutes.

What Is the Longest NBA Game?

The longest NBA game in history happened in the 1951 season. It was a fiery encounter between the Rochester Royals and the Indianapolis Olympians at Edgerton Park Arena.

There are so many overtime periods that the actual game time is up to 78 minutes. That year, the Indianapolis Olympians excellently won 75-73 against the Royals. The match lasted six quarters instead of the usual four. It is also one of the Guinness World Records.

Besides, we can mention the longest college basketball game in 1981. This match took place with the participation of two teams, the Bradley Braves, and the Cincinnati Bearcats

The victory went to 75 minutes. It was just three minutes shorter than the 1951 match between the Olympians and the Royals mentioned above.

Not stopping there, this 1981 match broke another record. That’s the longest player on the field in a basketball game. 

Bradley center Donald Reese and Cincinnati guard Bobby Austin played on the field for 73 minutes. No one has overcome this to this day.

You can refer to some long NBA games via this video.

How Do NBA Games Take Place?

Twenty minutes before the match, the coaches of both teams will register the list of players. That list includes jersey numbers, names of players, captains, leading coaches, assistants. 

At that time, the coach appoints five players on the official list and confirms the score sheet. The home team will have the right to choose the basket and bench and then notify the main referee.

The referee blows the whistle, and the game starts. Two teams stand on the field to prepare. The ball is then “thrown” high by the referee in the circle in the center of the area. When any player touches the ball, then the timed game is “started.”

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NBA games 

When Does Clock Stop?

The time of each quarter ends when the referee blows the whistle to end the quarter. The referee will stop the clock after the 4th quarter if there is a score difference.

There was an infraction during play, but the clock signaled the end of the period. How will the referee handle it? The player will take the free throw immediately afterward, before halftime.

The clock will stop during the time of the two teams to temporarily break and make substitutions. It also happens when a player commits a foul, and the ball goes out of the playing area.

A free throw occurs, which could lead to one, two, or even three free throws.

Clock stoppages happen when one team calls one timeout. Each NBA club has 60 seconds in the first timeout and a shorter time in the second timeout. The second timeouts depend on whether the NBA match is “nationally televised” or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the common questions that beginners have about the length of basketball games.

1. How long does a youth basketball game last?

A youth basketball game often lasts about one hour. Most youth leagues games include two halves. The average length is 20 minutes for each half of the youth games.

2. How long is a women’s game in college basketball?

Women’s games often last two hours. There are four quarters, and each lasts 10 minutes. 

3. Why do playoff games usually last longer than regular-season games?

A playoff game takes longer than a regular-season game due to its longer commercial breaks.

Final Thoughts

Now you have general knowledge regarding the topic “how long are NBA games.” We will keep you updated with the latest sports news about basketball and other sports on Scott Fujita. Thank you for reading!

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