How Long Does The Average Basketball Game Lasts?

How Long Does The Average Basketball Game Lasts?

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and have you wonder how long does a basketball game lasts? 

There are variations of time a basketball game lasts in different levels from National Basketball Association (NBA), Women National Basketball Association (WNBA), international basketball federal (FIBA), Summer Olympic, US college basketball, High School basketball, and Youth Basketball Game.  Often time the game actually lasts longer than the clock due to the timeouts, halftime, and commercials. On average, an NBA game is approximately two hours long. Other leagues and basketball associations’ game length may be longer or shorter depending on lengths on each quarter, fouls (including technical foul shot, refer may review on foul replay), and halftime.

Continue reading to find out the different duration of basketball games at different levels, we will go over the key f actors so you have a better understanding of how long you will sit for a basketball game.


How Long Does NBA Game Last?

The actual total playing time in an NBA game is 48 minutes.

The game is divided into four quarters with 12 minutes to each quarter.  If the game leads to a tie at the end of the 4th quarter, there will be an overtime period.  The overtime period adds additional 5 minutes to the clock, and an additional overtime period will be added to the game if another tie occurs which is rare.

During the 2018-19 NBA season, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks went onto 4 overtime before the Bulls defeated Atlanta in a 168-161.  The game lasted for 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Half-time, fouls, free throw, timeouts, technical foul (follow with technical free throw), ball out of bounds are the key factors to determine how long a game lasts. On averages, an NBA game takes two hours to two and a half hours.

What is Shot Clock in NBA?

How Long Does The Average Basketball Game Lasts?

Shot clock violation is 24 seconds in NBA.  The team with possession of the ball allows 24 seconds to shot a basketball.  If the team fails to shot a basketball, the opponent team will receive the ball possession.

How Long Is Halftime in NBA?

Halftime is 15 minutes, which is after the second quarter in NBA games.  The teams will switch court after halftime.  There is a two minutes break between each quarter, and it may be longer in NBA playoff and NBA Final games.

NBA also have media commercial break during out of bound or foul plays. You will also see this in a college basketball game.

How Many Timeout In NBA?

In the NBA, a timeout call will further extend the length of the basketball game.  Both teams allow 7 timeouts during the regular game time, each timeout lasts for 1 minute 15 seconds.  Each team allows no more than four timeouts during the fourth quarter.  Out of the four timeouts, maximum of two timeouts are allowed after the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter.


During the overtime period, each team allowed additional two timeouts.

Two mandatory timeouts are required for the team in each quarter.  It is up to the team to call their mandatory timeout during the 12 minutes.  But if both teams didn’t call for a mandatory time out prior to the 6:59 minute-mark in the period, the official scorer (which is the person in the NBA game with an important role in keeping track of the score, foul, and timeout.) will call for the mandatory timeout on the home team on the first dead ball after 6:59 minute-mark.  At the 2:59 minute mark, if no timeouts call, the official scorer will call the timeout on the other team that was not previously charged with the timeout.


So timeout will definitely add additional time to the length of the game.

How Long Does College Basketball Game Last?

How Long Does The Average Basketball Game Lasts?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is probably one of the most watch sports at the non-professional levels.  Especially we just finished with the NCAA final game on March 5, 2021.

Unlike NBA games, college games have two halves instead of four quarters in NBA.  Each half takes 20 minutes in length, with a total of 40 minutes of playtime.  Of course, the players will not play continues 40 minutes like NBA, Just like the NBA or any level of basketball game, fouls, timeouts, injuries, and out of bound can stop the clock and extend the length of the game.  On average, the length of a college basketball game lasts approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.

How Long Is College Overtime Periods and Halftimes?

College games overtime period is 5 minutes, and halftimes are 15 minutes.

How Many Timeout In College Basketball?

There is 9 TV timeout in a regular-season game and 10 TV timeout in NCAA tournament.

What Is Shot Clock In College Basketball?

30 seconds

How Long Does WNBA Game Last?

How Long Does The Average Basketball Game Lasts?

Women also compete at a professional level and college level.  The professional level is called the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the college level is NCAA Women’s college.  The game length and quarter in both WNBA and NCAA Women’s college are the same with actual playtime is 40 minutes, which included four quarters with 10 minutes each.

With fouls, timeout, injuries, halftime, and out-of-bound, the game’s length averages about two hours to fin ish.


What Is Shot Clock In WNBA?

24 Seconds

How Long Is FIBA Game Last?

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) set the structure of the rules of basketball, which specifies the equipment and facilities used.  It regulates how a player plays in other countries and uses international referees.  Since 1989, there is a total of 213 countries participated in the FIBA.  The games host by FIBA included both men’s and women’s FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Summer Olympic Basketball Tournament, and Basketball World Cup.

The actual length of a FIBA game is broken down to four 10 minutes quarters, a total of 40 minutes actually playing time.

How Long Is FIBA Overtime Period and Halftimes?

  • Overtime Duration: 5 minutes
  • Halftime length: 15 minutes

What Is Shot Clock In FIBA?

24 seconds

How Long Is High School Basketball Game?

High School and youth basketball game’s format is similar to other basketball levels, but the actual game time is shorter.  There are 4 quarters of 8 minutes, a total of 32 minutes in actual gameplay.  In we included all the other factors that will stop the game clock like fouls, timeout, an average high school varsity basketball game is about 90 minutes.  This also included 10 minutes halftime.

What Is Shot Clock In United States High School Basketball?

Average 30 seconds with some state will allow 35 seconds.

Final Thought

So have you figured out how long a basketball game lasts? It’s a hard question with different leagues and levels of basketball.  But you can expect to spend approximately 2 hours for games that are college level and above.  Timeouts, fouls, the free throw will stop the clock and add additional time to the game.

Overtime period is rare in a basketball game, but they do occur, so the next time you in a game live or on TV, don’t leave the game so fast if it’s a close game.  Now you know how long a basketball game lasts, so there’s no surprise on your next game you watch.

You May Also Want To Read:

  1. NBA Longest Winning Streak
  2. Top 15 NBA Player Who Can’t Dunk