How Long is a Basketball Game?

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The length of a basketball game varies. Different levels use different time limits in their games. Basketball game length may also vary per location, rules, and the governing body sanctioning each league.

How Long Does a Basketball Game Last?

Each basketball game has different levels. Each level has different timings as well. High School, College, NCAA, NBA, and even different regions worldwide uses different time limits in their competition.

  • Professional games last around 40-48 minutes
  • Amateur games last 32-40 minutes

A basketball game cannot end with a tie. The game goes into an overtime period in cases where the score becomes tied at the end of regulation. All levels use a mandatory 5-minute extra period when necessary.

Ongoing basketball game in the NBA

Professional Basketball Game Length

The length of a professional basketball game depends on the association which presides over games. The region and the sanctioning association play a huge factor in these differences.

  • NBA games last 48 minutes
  • Euroleague games last 40 minutes.
  • FIBA games last 40 minutes.
  • The Olympics basketball games last 40 minutes 

The total time in regulation is not the total length of a professional basketball game. This is due to a number of reasons. The total time of one basketball game is extended by the number of disruptions that make a ball game longer. These disruptions include fouls, violations, and timeouts from both sides.

Professional basketball games last an average of two hours and 30 minutes while championship games can reach up to 3 hours. Games last this long due to the aforementioned disruptions. Because these games can get lengthy, it is crucial that the players have supportive and comfortable basketball shoes to allow them to play without pain during the allotted timeframe.

Additionally, basketball is a vigorous sport that can cause your body to sweat a lot, especially for men. One way to avoid bad odor on your body is to use a deodorant, and you can head over to Better Mind Body Soul for recommendations.

How Long is a High School Basketball Game?  

Higher learning institutions play competitive basketball as part of their varsity program. It is one of the most commonly played games in high schools.

High schools use four quarters just like the NBA. The only difference is the quarters are shorter in high school games.

A high school basketball game has four 8-minute quarters. The number of minutes per quarter in a high school game may vary per state.

High school teams are only allowed 10 minutes break at halftime.

The game has a total of 32 minutes of regulation. In case of a tie, the high school overtime period is four minutes. This is per overtime until one team wins at the end.

An average high school basketball game lasts around one and a half hours. The total time varies depending on the number of fouls, breathers, and clock stoppages per game.

NCAA College Basketball Game Length

Games sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA are different from high school game.

College games are divided into two halves. Each half is 20 minutes long. Another 20 minutes is consumed for halftime breaks.

As per NCAA rules, the shot clock for men’s college basketball is 35 seconds while women’s college basketball has 30 seconds. College games are considered longer than your average ball game because of this.

The total duration of regulation is 40 minutes which makes it one hour including the halftime period. Timeouts alone in a college basketball game consume half an hour of the game.

Disruptions such as violations, fouls, and reviews of plays can bump the time of a college game to around 2 hours and 10 minutes on average.

A referee commences the basketball game with a jump ball

How Long is an NBA Game?

An NBA game has 48 minutes of regulation. Each is divided into four 12-minute quarters. Extra periods increase that time whenever there happens to be a tie by the end of regulation.

A tied score by the end of the quarter is decided in an overtime period. Each overtime period lasts 5 minutes.

A 15-minute halftime period, fouls, timeouts, and ball out-of-bound results in a game that lasts longer than it should. This bumps an average NBA game duration to around 2 to 2.5 hours.

Parts of a Basketball Game

Quarter12 minutes
Half-time15 minutes
Time-out1 minute, 15 seconds
Overtime5 minutes

How Long is a Basketball Quarter?

Basketball is played in phases. Each phase is called a quarter. The time per quarter varies depending on the level of competition.

Different sports associations also have different times per quarter. International basketball rules have 10 minutes per quarter. The Olympics also follows this time format as well.

An NBA game has 12 minutes per quarter. Most leagues around Europe have 10 minutes per quarter.

How Long is a Basketball Half?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA has two phases. Each phase is called a half. NCAA games have 20 minutes for each half. A basketball half is considered longer and slower compared to a four-quarter game.

How Long is Each Basketball Rule?

Organized basketball has time limits for some of its rules.

  • An offensive team has 8 seconds to advance the ball past the midcourt line.
  • Each player must execute each free throw attempt within 10 seconds.
  • A basketball player must inbound the ball within 5 seconds.
  • The shot clock for a professional game is 24 seconds.
  • College games have a 35-second shot clock.

How Important is Time in a Basketball Game?

A basketball player must be aware that each game has different levels. Each level has different timings. It takes a lot of presence of mind to know how much time is left on the clock.

It is also important to know the necessary time limits per the rule. Players must know how to strategically play within the time limit.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about basketball games.

What Is the Longest NBA Game?

The longest NBA game of all time was Olympians versus Rochester Loyals back in 1978. This game lasted 78 minutes, which is nearly double the time it is played nowadays. It also had six overtimes.

Are NBA Games Always 48 Minutes?

Yes, this is because all games are divided into four parts of twelve minutes. However, in the NCAA, all games are divided into four parts of twenty minutes. This is why those games last eighty minutes.

How Long Is a Whole NBA Game?

On average, a whole NBA game from the pre-match to the after-match, last about two hours. Including overtime, time-outs, fouls, and half-time, the whole event can even last three hours.


When it comes to time, basketball has changed the rules over the years, making the game more dynamic; this is why older games used to be longer. Also, the duration also depends on which league you are playing.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.

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