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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is one of the most well-known sports in the world. It’s play in pretty lot every nation you deserve to think of. The National Basketball Association, i beg your pardon is a member that USA Basketball and also recognized by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the joined States, consists of groups each precious billions that dollars. The NBA Finals alone color etc tens of numerous viewers every year.

You are watching: How many minutes in nba overtime

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


The implementation of the shot clock essentially saved the game and put fans in the seats when it to be introduced. Prior to it, NBA teams might hold the sphere for as long as they’d like as soon as they had a lead. The result? last scores favor 19-18 once the Fort Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean smith made a life implementing a “four corners” stall offense in college that was unstoppable due to the fact that there to be no shoot clock.

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

That being said, one pressing question many brand-new fans questioning is: just how long is a basketball game? that answer varies because different rule exist for the plenty of levels of basketball that include 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 divided into 4 quarters, each of which last 12 minutes long. That way there room 48 total minutes of pat in a solitary game. Halftime provides played a 15-minute rest to allow them to remainder in between the second and third quarter. Each overtime duration lasts 5 minutes.


The average size of a basketball game in the NBA lasts all over from 2-3 hrs after factoring in team timeouts, replay reviews, shooting fouls, TV timeouts, halftime breaks, breathers and also other stoppages. Most video game lengths are around two and also a half hours.

How lengthy Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball games are slightly different. NCAA men’s basketball games consists of two 20-minute halves, adding up come 40 total minutes of video game time. Each overtime period is five minutes long. NCAA women’s university games space played in 4 10-minute soldier just choose WNBA games are. Both take around two hours from begin to finish.

Most high school basketball gamings in the United claims are played in 8-minute quarters, yet that different from state to state.

How The shooting Clock adjusted 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 began implementing a 24-second shot clock throughout scrimmages. The an outcome was a faster, higher-scoring game that the NBA officially embraced for the 1954-55 season.

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


The NBA currently uses a 24-second shooting clock. This means teams should shoot the ball before that time expires, or else they shed possession that the ball. The shoot clock resets come 14 seconds in the NBA ~ an attack rebound ~ above a missed shooting or totally free throw the hit the rim.

The national Collegiate strong Association (NCAA) currently provides a 30-second shot clock for both men and also women’s basketball matches. The league presented a 45-second shoot clock in 1985 and also reduced it to 35 second in 1993 before landing top top a 30-second shoot clock in 2015.

How plenty of Timeouts room In a Basketball Game?

The video game clock stops a whole lot in the NBA, which is why the league has tried to rate up games by limiting the variety of timeouts teams can call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA groups are allowed seven timeouts per game. Every team is also only afforded 2 timeouts in the last three minutes, a adjust of pace from when it could call three timeouts in the last two minutes.

Each timeout in these expert games last 75 seconds. The NBA supplied to allow 100-second timeouts and “20-second” timeouts the were actually much more like 60 seconds.

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts per game, two of which deserve to roll over into the second half. In addition, teams gain one 60-second timeout that have the right to be dubbed at any 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 6 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) may 4, 2019


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

The Rochester Royals and also Indianapolis Olympians squared off in a (not so epic) game that wound up lasting a total time the 78 minutes and six overtimes, an excellent for the longest NBA basketball game in history. The bout, which took place at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, brand-new York, was at some point won through the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that simply 18 points to be scored in the timeframe that the whole six overtimes. Neither team score in the second and fourth overtimes. Why? due to the fact that the team who started with the round tended to wait for the clock to operation out prior to throwing up the last shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ much more than 26 the the 30 overtime minutes, the sphere stayed neatly tucked far under an arm of a imperial or Olympian player. One or one more player simply stood there through the score tied, waiting the end the clock because that a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers who complained were melted up in ~ the unchallenged freeze. For the Olympians, it sure wasn?t good basketball, yet it payment off.”


Booooooring. That’s a far cry from the moment Tracy McGrady scored 13 point out in 33 seconds, a feat that actually occurred in a experienced basketball league and also is tho remarkable.

The Longest game in NCAA History


Today in #sportshistory in 1981 Cincinnati defeated 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 background was a comparable 75-minute, seven-overtime game between Bradley and Cincinnati in 1981. That came prior to a shooting clock was imposed 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 see one more six- or seven-overtime game, and that’s most likely for the best. The typical points per video game per team is the highest the been since the 1980s, therefore sit ago and reap the fireworks.

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About the author: Patrick Pinak, staff 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 job defending Derek Jeter and also the Miami Marlins. He stays in southern Florida but his heart belongs in Gainesville, Florida.