How Long is an NBA Game? | How Long Are High School Basketball Games?

How Long is an NBA Game? | How Long Are High School Basketball Games?

How Long is an NBA Game? | How Long Are High School Basketball Games?

It’s vital to comprehend the complexities of basketball, whether you’re a player or a fan. And knowing how long a basketball game lasts is one of the things you’ll need to know.

How long does a basketball game last? There is no universal answer because leagues and associations have varied rules. For the most up-to-date information, see the organization’s rulebook in which you participate.

I’ll look at game durations according to FIBA, NBA, NCAA (college), and NFHS (high school) laws below. I’ll also briefly mention the shot clock and timeouts because they’re crucial in basketball.

What Is the Average Length of an NBA Game?

Each of the four periods of an NBA game lasts 12 minutes. In addition, NBA regulations allow for a 5-minute extra period. However, NBA games – and basketball games in any other league – can run significantly longer due to frequent clock stops. An NBA game typically lasts two and a half hours.

One thing to keep in mind about NBA timeouts: FIBA’s comparative table was out of date as of the publishing of this essay. Each team is entitled to the following benefits under the 2019-2020 rules:

  • Seven timeouts have been charged.
  • In the fourth period, you can take up to four timeouts.
  • In overtime sessions, you can take up to two timeouts.

Other specifics about timeouts can be found in the regulations, but I won’t go through them in this piece. All NBA timeouts have been 75 seconds long since the 2017-18 season, replacing the former short and long timeouts.

What is the record for the longest NBA game?

The game lasted 78 minutes, and the Olympians won by 75 to 73. This was a six-overtime game that even made the Guinness Book of World Records.

Although the longest collegiate basketball game in history was marginally shorter, it was outstanding. The game was played on December 21, 1981, between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Bradley Braves, and the Bearcats won 75 to 73.

The game lasted 75 minutes, only 3 minutes more than the historic Olympians vs. Rochester Royals matchup. Surprisingly, this basketball contest led to the establishment of even another record. Bobby Austin of Cincinnati and Donald Reese of Bradley played 73 minutes on the court, which is still a record.

How long does a basketball game last?

Basketball requires a variety of amounts of time. The level of competition determines a basketball game’s length. Extra playtimes apply to college, high school, NBA, and professional basketball. In all levels of basketball, an overtime period is used if the game ends in a tie.

I’ll go over the various durations at various levels and some of the reasons for the play length below.

Length of a middle school basketball game

Junior high school basketball games are 24 minutes long and are divided into four quarters of six minutes each. When you factor in halftime, timeouts, and any clock stops that may occur, the game usually takes about an hour from start to completion.

Length of a high school basketball game

High school basketball games are 32 minutes long, divided into four quarters of eight minutes each. When you factor in halftime, timeouts, and any clock stops that may occur, From start to end, the game usually takes around an hour and a half. Between the second and third quarters, there is a ten-minute halftime break. The high school extra period is four minutes if the teams are tied after regulation.

Length of a college basketball game

Men’s collegiate basketball games last 40 minutes, divided into two 20-minute halves. When you factor in halftime, timeouts, and any clock stops that may occur, the fun typically lasts roughly two hours from start to finish. Between the first and second halves, there is a 15-minute halftime break. 

Basketball games for women’s college teams last 40 minutes, broken into four 10-minute quarters. When halftime, timeouts, and any clock interruptions are factored in, the fun usually lasts around two hours from start to end. A 15-minute halftime break occurs between the second and third quarters. 

The time has come for the shot clock

A shot clock was added to the game to discourage teams from keeping the ball and allowing the clock to run out and speed up the game. A shot clock indicates the amount of time each team has to shoot the ball. The shot clock resets after a change of possession or when the ball hits the rim. Varied levels of basketball have different shot clock lengths.

Time outs

Timeouts allow teams to recover and rehearse their strategies. Timeouts vary per league. High school: A timeout can be called by the coach or the players on the court. A team has five timeouts, two of which are 30 seconds long and three of which are 60 seconds long.

College: Different timeouts depend on whether the game is on TV. While the game is shown on television, there are media timeouts to allow the broadcaster to air advertising. If the game is shown on television, each side is given a single 1-minute timeout and four 30-second timeouts. There are two 30-second timeouts and four 75-second timeouts in non-televised games.

NBA- Each NBA basketball team has six complete time outs and one 20-second time out per half. Only the player can call a timeout.

What time does the clock running begin?

The clock starts ticking once the ball is inbound and a player touches it. The watch will constantly run while the ball is in play until one of the following events occurs:

  • The ball has gone out of bounds.
  • When a foul is called, the referee calls a timeout.
  • When it comes to free throws.
  • During time outs, for example.

The clock stops when a shot is made in the last two minutes of an NBA game.


All levels of basketball use overtime if the score is tied at the end of regulation. This four-minute overtime period is used in high school basketball. The overtime period in college basketball and the NBA is five minutes long. If the score is still tied after overtime, the game is restarted. This continues until one team wins at the end of an overtime period.