How Long Does an NBA Game Last?

A 48-minute NBA game is broken into four 12-minute quarters. However, this does not tell us anything about the real time required to play these 48 minutes of net play time.

I discovered how to extract game data from beginning with the 2015/16 season and examined the actual average NBA game length.

Typically, a typical NBA game lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours. However, that is not a precise figure for all leagues and associations.

Here’s what you need to know about NBA game length.

How long is a WNBA game?

The WNBA game consists of four ten-minute quarters. The fifteen-minute interlude between the second and third periods is halftime. Most WNBA games last approximately two hours. As a result of three overtime sessions, the longest WNBA game on record was played in 2002 and lasted approximately three hours.

How long do basketball games last?

How long do basketball games last
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WNBA games are comprised of two 20-minute halves, for a total playing time of forty minutes. FIBA games consist of four 10-minute quarters and five minutes of overtime, for a total of forty minutes (if needed).

The length of men’s NCAA games is forty minutes divided into two 20-minute halves, while women’s games consist of four 10-minute quarters.

How long are NBA games in minutes?

Each NBA-regulated basketball game consists of four 12-minute quarters, for a total of 48 minutes. To this time must be added the 15-minute intermission as well as the several interruptions during the game caused by fouls, injuries, and free throws.

Each team is allowed up to seven timeouts every game, with four of them being necessary, having to take a complete timeout per quarter, and being limited to no more than three timeouts in the fourth quarter.

Since the 2017-18 season, NBA timeouts have been 75 seconds in length, replacing the previous short and long timeout formats.

Briefly, the average Long Does an NBA Game Last is 2.5 hours, although in some instances, primarily owing to overtime, games can last up to three hours.

How long are Basketball Games in FIBA?

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) stipulates that a game will consist of four quarters. How many minutes is a FIBA basketball quarter? Each quarter will be 10 minutes, and the total duration of the game will be forty minutes. In comparison to NBA quarters, FIBA quarters are shorter.

Additionally, relaxation periods between quarters are governed by additional regulations. Therefore, how long is a basketball quarter?

  • The teams will have approximately 20 minutes to prepare before the start of the game.
  • There are two minutes between the first and second halves.
  • There are 15 minutes between the second and third quarters. The two teams require time to switch pitches and begin the subsequent quarters.
  • There are two minutes between the third and fourth quarters.
  • The time between overtime periods is two minutes.

Overtime periods occur when both sides have played all four quarters without determining a winner. The team that scores more goals in the first extra period wins. At this time, the game will conclude.

If the first overtime does not determine a winner, both sides will continue to play in consecutive overtimes. FIBA games will begin halftime when the game clock sounds to indicate the end of the half.

How long are Basketball Games?

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and other regulating bodies are responsible for determining the length of basketball games. Here is a breakdown of different basketball leagues’ game lengths:

1. NBA

For a total of forty-eight minutes, National Basketball Association (NBA) games consist of four twelve-minute quarters. Throughout those forty-eight minutes, the game clock stops for different reasons, including fouls, intermission, and time-outs. Consequently, a normal NBA game during the regular season can range between two and two and a half hours, and the length of games during the playoffs and championships can surpass three hours. The Rochester Royals and the Indianapolis Olympians played in Rochester, New York, on January 6, 1951, for a total of seventy-eight minutes and six overtimes in the longest NBA game ever played. The Olympians triumphed with a final score of 75–73.


Games in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) consist of two 20-minute halves, for a total of forty minutes. Again, clock stoppages lengthen the length of each game, and regular-season contests may last between two and two and a half hours. On June 8, 2002, the longest basketball game in WNBA history was played between the Orlando Miracle and the Cleveland Rockers. In a game that lasted two hours and fifty-seven minutes with three overtime sessions, The Miracle prevailed 103–99.


National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and other governing bodies regulate forty-minute college basketball games. Men’s college games have two twenty-minute halves, but women’s college games feature four ten-minute quarters. In 1981, the longest NCAA basketball game was played. The University of Cincinnati and Bradley University played for a total of seventy-five minutes and seven overtimes.

4. Grade School

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA), high school and youth basketball games are each divided into four eight-minute quarters and last 32 minutes. A high school basketball game lasts around 90 minutes in real time.

5. College

There are two 20-minute halves for NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) collegiate basketball games. There is a fifteen-minute pause between each half of the game. Most collegiate basketball games last approximately two hours.

What Factors Affect the Length of Basketball Games?

1. Fouls, Injuries, and Free Throws

Free throws, fouls, player injuries, and out-of-bounds balls pause the game clock. The game clock remains paused until a throw-in or jump ball restores the ball to play. Learn about the basketball fouling system.

2. Halftime

The halftime period adds fifteen minutes to the length of NBA, WNBA, and NCAA basketball games. The sport cannot extend the halftime break, which may already appear lengthy to television viewers due to the commercials that air during the break.

3. Overtime

Additionally, overtime (OT) influences the duration of a basketball game. There is no limit on the number of overtime periods that can be played in NBA basketball games. In the NBA, WNBA, and FIBA, each overtime period is five minutes long, and each side receives a handful of additional time-outs for each overtime period played. In men’s and women’s collegiate basketball games, there are no limits on the number of overtime sessions permitted.

4. Shot Count

The shot clock is a timer that governs how long a team may possess the basketball prior to attempting a shot. Before attempting a field goal, if the shot clock reaches 0, the team loses possession of the ball. In 1954, the NBA introduced a 24-second shot clock, while FIBA, the WNBA, and collegiate basketball games all had 30-second clocks. In contrast, the FIBA and WNBA adopted the 24-second clock in 2000 and 2006, respectively.

5. Rest periods

If an NBA or WNBA club uses all of its time-outs in a single game, they can add up to nine minutes to the game’s duration. However, teams are required to take one complete time-out per quarter and are limited to three time-outs in the fourth quarter. If two or more time-outs remain in the fourth quarter, the 75-second time-out is shortened to 20 seconds. NCAA and high school games are prolonged by fewer than two minutes due to time-outs.

Why Are NBA games so lengthy?

Given that the game is only 48 minutes long on paper, you may question why you are still watching several minutes later.

There are several causes for the increased game length. All of these variables are changeable, therefore they may affect some games while having no effect on others.

Therefore, it is difficult to anticipate how long a particular game will run.


A professional men’s basketball game typically lasts approximately 2.5 hours. Four 12-minute minutes are played, with a 15-minute intermission between periods two and three. Due to substitutions, commercial breaks, free throws, and timeouts, games last longer.

WNBA, Olympic, NCAA, and High School basketball games are all completed in less time than NBA games. Each of these leagues requires less time to complete its game clock, resulting in a shorter total duration. Using a mercy rule to speed up the completion of a high school basketball game can shorten the game’s duration to one hour and a half.

Frequently Asked Questions (faqs)

How long do youth league basketball games last?

Typically, a young basketball game lasts about an hour. Most games in juvenile competitions consist of two halves. The average length of each half of youth games is 20 minutes.

How long is a Women’s Game in College Basketball?

Typically, women’s games last two hours. Each of the four quarters lasts ten minutes.

How can I watch NBA live on my phone?

The official NBA app provides the most recent highlight footage, breaking news notifications, and scores. Subscribe to the NBA League Pass and League Pass Premium tiers of the app to view live out-of-market regular-season games.

Where can I view NBA games live?

The 2021-22 NBA season will be televised and streamable online. If you wish to watch the NBA on television, national broadcasts are available on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

Who has the most national TV games NBA?

Golden State, the defending 2022 NBA champions, have 30 national TV games, followed by Los Angeles with 27 and Boston with 25 — each team has 12 games airing on NBA TV. Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns round out the top five with respective totals of 23 and 22.

What app can I watch NBA games for free?

NBA Live Stream is the greatest and free app to watch NBA live matches in high HD throughout the entire season. NBA live Stream Free also offers Free Streaming of every NBA live matches and highlights with just a few mouse clicks. The program allows users to watch live NBA games on mobile devices anywhere and at any time.

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