How Long is a Quarter in Basketball?

How Long is a Quarter in Basketball?

One of the most well-liked and widely played team sports globally is basketball. Even though it was born in the United States, the sport has spread worldwide and given rise to various leagues, each of which has distinct regulations. At this point, the most important organizations in professional basketball are the NBA and the FIBA.

Clock time is predetermined for each league's game and during which it is played. When the ball is in play, the clock keeps running, but it pauses for any time-outs, fouls, or free throws that are taken. It also stops if the ball goes beyond the boundaries of the playing field. When a player touches the ball while still on the court, the clock starts over again.

How Long Is A Quarter In Basketball?

Every phase of a basketball game is broken up into one of the game's four "quarters," each separated by a media timeout. The duration of each quarter varies from sport to sport and association to association. The clock operations may differ from league to league, but the rest of the regulations for basketball are always the same. The total time a game is played might vary from league to league.

A high school basketball game will last 32 minutes, with each quarter lasting 8 minutes. A professional National Basketball Association game lasts for 60 minutes, broken into four quarters of 12 minutes each. The duration of the whole match is 48 minutes. The clock times for each quarter in WNBA games are also the same at 12 minutes.

On the other hand, each quarter in a game sanctioned by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) lasts for ten minutes. The men's collegiate basketball game sanctioned by the NCAA is split into two halves rather than four equal quarters.

Each portion lasts for a total of twenty minutes. Because of potential time-outs and disturbances, the actual duration of a quarter might be longer than what was originally planned. There must be time-outs to give the teams a chance to recuperate.

Six complete timeouts may be taken during an NBA game, plus one 20-second timeout can be used during each half. Extra timeouts might be taken throughout a game if there are enough fouls or injuries. There are brief intervals of two minutes between each quarter and a longer break of around 15 minutes halfway through the game.

If a basketball game ends in a tie, the extra period will often continue for five minutes until a winner can be determined. There are no limitations placed on overtime hours. Depending on the level of competition, a full basketball game may last anywhere from two to three hours.

Basketball League

Length of Quarter


12 minutes


10 minutes

High-school basketball

8 minutes

Why is a Quarter in Basketball this Long?

Each of the four quarters in international basketball lasts ten minutes, and there are two-minute intervals between each of the quarters. Most professional basketball competitions in countries other than the United States of America adhere to the regulations established by FIBA.

In contrast, a quarter in the NBA is planned to last 12 minutes. The National Basketball Association has held the belief for as long as anybody can remember that the appropriate length of time for a halftime break in a professional game is 12 minutes.

The foundation of collegiate basketball inspired the first regulations of the National Basketball Association (NBA). At the collegiate level, games were split into two halves that lasted around 15–20 minutes each. The NBA concluded that the length of a collegiate game was inappropriate for a professional game.

They established a new standard for professional basketball by deciding to play four quarters of 12 minutes each rather than adhering to the game's rules. Only the NBA and the WNBA play quarters that are exactly 12 minutes long. The Olympics and the FIBA World Cup of Basketball play under the same regulations, limiting each quarter to ten minutes.

Despite this, the NBA is consistently affecting basketball played in other countries. The FIBA may adopt quarters that go for a full 12 minutes in the not-too-distant future. Why the NBA does not use 15-minute quarters as the NFL does is a question that gets discussed rather often. On the other hand, a National Football League game goes on for three hours and features separate teams of players on offense and defense.

In addition, they only play once every week, unlike the NBA, which does not let them continue this pattern. A basketball game that lasted for three hours would be too lengthy for its format.


The very modest variations in the clock duration during a basketball game significantly impact the game's overall flow. It may not seem like a big deal, but the difference between a 10-minute and a 12-minute quarter adds up to an additional eight minutes.

The extra time has an impact on both the score and the number of players that are permitted to be on the court. There are several different skill levels in basketball. Every organization plays by its rules and regulations regarding professional games; these rules and regulations all have their justifications. Although every league has its personality and identity, they all continue to affect one another.

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