A big topic of conversation around professional sports in America is how long it takes for games to finish. Major League Baseball took the initiative to increase the pace of play in 2023 and it had a resounding impact. Thankfully for the NBA, basketball does not have the same problem as baseball.
NBA games are much faster-paced than MLB games and the league has enjoyed a rapid ascension because of it. But just how long are NBA games? Let’s dive into all the timing questions you may have.
How long are NBA games?
There are 48 minutes of action in NBA games. NBA games are split into four quarters of 12 minutes each. With five players on the court at all times, coaches must create a rotation that totals 240 minutes played for the entire roster.
NBA games are eight minutes longer than college basketball games. Instead of quarters, college games are split into two 20-minute halves.
In terms of viewing experience, NBA games take, on average, two and a half hours to complete from opening tip-off to the final whistle. Obvious variables can increase or decrease the length of a game, with overtime being the most impactful variable.
How long is overtime in the NBA?
Overtime periods last five minutes and start with a jump ball at midcourt. Teams are allocated 130 seconds between the end of the fourth quarter and the start of overtime. If the two teams are tied at the end of an overtime period, the process repeats.
NBA teams are given two timeouts to use in the overtime period.
How long is halftime in the NBA?
NBA halftime lasts 15 minutes and the period between regulation quarters is two minutes and 30 seconds. However, in nationally televised games teams have three minutes and 30 seconds between regulation periods. The overtime period remains at 15 minutes.
How long are timeouts in the NBA?
Each team gets seven timeouts in regulation that vary in time. The first timeout a team takes is longer as teams will get two minutes and 45 seconds to regroup. After a team’s first timeout, ensuing timeouts will last one minute and 15 seconds.
However, that first timeout changes if the game is nationally televised (which Lakers games often are). In a nationally televised game, teams are given three minutes and 15 seconds in the first timeout of the game.