Quarters in basketball refer to the time in each section of the game. A professional game of basketball, like the NBA, is divided into four 12-minute periods known as quarters.
The duration might become a bit longer due to the occurrences of foul, suspension, intermediate break, or timeout.
Generally, a basketball game takes around 2-3 hours to finish.
The time for a “quarter” might vary depending on the tournament host or the level of play. Although we know a quarter usually means 1/4th of something, it stretches to 5 different period spans in a basketball game.
So, how many quarters are there in basketball, and how long are they? Read on to unveil the answer!
Time Handling in Basketball
Before learning the number of quarters, let us understand how time is handled in a basketball game. The time can be paused for many reasons:
- Free throws: If a player shoots inches behind the marked free-throw line.
- Foul: If any infraction of the basketball rules happens.
- Time-out: Coaches can call for a 1-minute timeout to discuss strategies. An NBA match offers 7 timeouts for every team.
Between every two quarters, a break or intermission is given for a few minutes. It is a half-time after 2nd quarter, though. The half-time break goes on for about 15 minutes, leading to the beginning of the 3rd quarter.
Lastly, a short break is given between the 3rd and 4th quarters.
A regular basketball game lasts 2 hours. However, if overtime occurs, the entire game might extend up to 2.5 hours.
How Many Quarters are there in Basketball?
As mentioned before, NBA games usually have 4 quarters. High school basketball games are also split up into 4 quarters, but the quarter duration varies between them.
While the quarter-length may vary for different high school leagues, NBA features four 12-minute quarters. FIBA games also have different quarters.
NCAA plays two 20-minute halves; hence it does not play any quarter.
Let us check them out in more detail!
FIBA stands for the International Basketball Federation. This governing body handles most of the major basketball tournaments worldwide.
The game rules are set by the FIBA authorities. Their game lasts 40 minutes, boasting a 15-minute long half-time. In case of any overtime, the duration might increase, each overtime lasting around 5 minutes.
Each game is split into 4 quarters of 10-minute durations. After 2 quarters are played, the players get a half-time.
The break duration between the 1st-2nd quarter and 3rd-4th quarter is 2 minutes.
NBA (National Basketball Association) is based in Canada and the United States. NBA games comprise 30 teams – 1 from Canada and the rest 29 from the United States.
A half-time, the duration of which is 15 minutes, is given after the end of the 2nd quarter. At half-time, the players take a breathe and continue the game afterward.
A draw in the game will lead to overtime, where the playing continues till a winner emerges. Overtime lasts 5 minutes.
With everything taken into account, an NBA game should take around 48 minutes to complete. It, however, takes about 2 hours on TV due to the commercials.
Why NBA Quarters Last 12 Minutes?
NBA has settled for a 12-minute quarter duration as the NBA officials believe that 12 minutes is ideal for a basketball game – for both the viewers and the players.
They found out that having 15 minute quarters would drain the players. It would also increase the probability of injuries.
Thus, 2 hours is deemed a decent timespan for retaining the audience while also differentiating the NBA game from other college basketball games.
College Basketball is a basketball game in the United States played by teams from different colleges or universities. NCCA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the most well-known American college basketball game.
The athletic bodies of college govern these leagues in the United States.
Generally, the game continues for around 40 minutes. Traditional college basketball leagues feature 2 halves in 4 quarters. Each half goes on for 20 minutes, with a half-time break of 15 minutes.
Until a winner is found, the game continues. Additional 5 minutes of overtime cycles happen in turns.
If shown on television, the college basketball games may last up to 2 hours and 10 minutes.
High School Basketball
High School Basketball is played indoors, where two teams having 5 players each compete. It is one of the most-watched sport among other high school games.
Just like the NBA games, high school basketball games also have 4 quarters, each running for 8 minutes, though. Between the 2nd and 3rd quarters, there is a 10-minute long half-time.
Although the game runs for 32 minutes, fouls, breathers, clock pauses, or time-outs can keep it going on for an hour and a half.
If the game comes to a tie, 4-minute overtime is provided until one team exceeds the other.
International Basketball Game
At the International Basketball level, the duration of quarters is about 10 minutes. As for the gap is concerned, the game allows a 2-minute interval between the quarters.
The international game quarters are 2 minutes less than that of the NBA. But, again, all the quarters combined feature the same time, like two 20-minute halves in the college basketball game.
That is a wrap for now! We hope that now you have the answer to your question – how many quarters are there in basketball?
Even though quarter means 1/4th, we have seen that it can vary from game to game. The length of quarters differs in every level of play, suited to the game rules.
Now that you know the number of quarters, try playing the one that meets your needs!