How Long are Basketball Games? – Full Guide

The average time a basketball game lasts is one hour thirty minutes to two hours. The game’s duration depends on what game level an individual is playing from. It can be a college basketball game, a high school basketball game, an NCAA game, or a professional NBA game. These basketball levels require different playtime, depending on the intensity and the type of match the game has. 

 Once the game started, the timer will always continue running except when: 

  • The ball was thrown outside the court. 
  • Free throws are performed.
  • When a player or a team committed a foul.
  • A team called for a time out. 
  • The ball is up for an inbound pass (the timer will start once the player inside the court touches the ball). 

Image result for baskteball game timer

How long are NBA Games

In the NBA league, MVPs and stars’ professional game consists of four quarters. Each quarter lasts exactly 12 minutes before the timer runs out. Meaning, the regular time that a game is on would be 48 minutes long, with a 15-minute break between the second and third quarters.  

However, since it is the floor time, the game can extend more than an hour depending on how many timeouts, TV timeouts, free throws, reviews, stoppages caused by fouls, injuries, and in-between breaks. An NBA game can last up to a maximum of 2 and a half until 3 hours.  It has also been observed that postseason games (playoffs) are much longer than the regular season. This is because there are more substitutions, fouls, and much higher game intensity.

Note: 5-minute overtime is awarded to an NBA game if a shot was made during the last two minutes. There are no limits in giving overtime after overtime. But when one team exceeded three fouls of any offense during the overtime period, the ball is automatically awarded to the opposing team. 

How long are College basketball games

A college basketball game only lasts for 40 minutes, with only two quarters consisting of 20 minutes each and a 15-minute break in between. A series of 5-minute overtimes are also given until one team is ahead of the other. A college basketball game being televised runs up to 2 hours (considering the timeouts, TV timeouts, fouls, etc.).

High school basketball games, just like the NBA, consist of four quarters as well, however shorter. Each quarter involves 8 minutes of playtime, with a halftime of 10 minutes before the third quarter starts. In this match, overtime of only 4 minutes is granted until there is a winner. 

How long are Women’s basketball games

The majority of women’s basketball Game also follow a fixed playtime depending on their type of match. In high school basketball game, four quarters with 8 minutes each is for men’s league. While, four quarters featuring 10 minutes each is the regular time frame for WNBA or FIBA. The NCAA, uses two quarters with 20 minutes of playtime each. Indeed, it varies and depends. 

When can you call for a timeout in Basketball?

Image result for basketball timeout during a game

Timeouts in basketball are provided to give players seconds to rest and coaches a moment to direct their teams.  

High school basketball games permit five timeouts for each team, and three of those lasts for a minute while the two lasts for 30 seconds. On the other hand, televised college basketball games allow four timeouts per two quarters (8 in total). This is to give way for commercial breaks and the like.

Each team receives eight counts of timeout in NBA games with six  60 seconds and two 20 seconds. However, three timeouts are only allowed during the last quarter of the play. Considerations are also given since a timeout duration can vary depending on why it is called for.

Longest Basketball Game in history

Image result for longest basketball game

Going back to January 16, 1951, the match between Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals holds the longest game in history. It has a total of 78 minutes of playtime. The duration of the game excludes timeouts and half-times. However, their scores landed in a relatively low score of 75-73, favoring the Indianapolis Olympians.


Basketball games last longer than the regulated time frame since fouls happen, as well as breaks and half-times. Unlimited overtimes also occur, which is a factor of the game is much more lengthened. In a nutshell, the average time that you can expect a game to last from the starting point down to the ending is two hours. At least, you would not be wondering why you are sitting that long in a gymnasium or an arena. 

Got Sports Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Recently Published

Scroll to Top