Basketball Overtime

Basketball Overtime

Overtime in the NBA is different from overtime in college basketball. You'll want to have an understanding of the following terms before you learn the rules of overtime:


Basketball Period

In the NBA, teams play four 12 minute quarters en route to a 48-minute regulation game. In college basketball, teams play two 20 minute halves and 40 minutes total, differing from the professional game. In both cases, if the two teams are tied at the end of regulation overtime is played in order to decide a winner.


Overtime in basketball happens when the score is tied at the end of regulation. Overtime is used to determine the winning team when the score is tied. Overtime always begins with the ball being put into play via a jump ball. If the two teams are tied after overtime then they play second overtime with the same rules and regulations. This continues until a winner is decided.

How Long Does Overtime Last?

basketball nba overtime

Overtime is an extra period in both the NBA and NCAA. Each overtime period is five minutes long and the team that finishes the period with the lead is the winner of the game.

Overtime Jump Ball

At the start of overtime, a jump ball is used to put the ball into play. All jump balls take place at the center circle. The same procedure is used for this jump ball as is in regulation. A player from each opponent takes the jump ball by jumping into the air and trying to tip it to one of their teammates. Players are not allowed to grab a hold of the ball. Instead, they must tip the ball in the direction of a teammate using one hand. Jump balls are used in overtime in order to give both teams an equal chance at possession just as in regulation.

Extra Overtime Quarters

Additional overtime quarters are played if the score is tied at the end of the first overtime quarter. There is no limit on the number of overtime periods that can be played as a winner is always determined in basketball. There is no sudden-death method of determining the winning team like in other sports.


Basketball Overtime Timeouts

A timeout is the ability to stop the game clock and shot clock from ticking. Some reasons to call a timeout in basketball are for making substitutions, to ice a player, or to change the play design.

In each NBA Overtime period, both teams are given two 60 second timeouts. Timeouts that were not used in regulation do not roll over into overtime and this is the same from overtime period to overtime period.


The bonus is a type of penalty situation in basketball that is given to a team when they are fouled a certain number of times during a period. In NBA overtime, if a team is fouled a total of five or more times they are in the bonus. Teams in the bonus get two free throws every time a player is fouled. Free throws are taken at the foul line.