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Basketball Quarters

Basketball Quarter

A quarter in basketball refers to the period of time in one section of a basketball game. A NBA game is split into four, 12 minute periods that are referred to as quarters. The game clock reads how much time is left in every given quarter, starting at 12 and running all the way to zero. This happens four times until the end of regulation. There is sometimes an overtime period of five minutes if the two teams are tied at the end of regulation.

How Long are Breaks between Quarters in Basketball?

In between quarters in basketball, the breaks are called intermissions and last 130 seconds long. In particular the breaks in between the first quarter and second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter and before overtime. These breaks are short as there is a longer break called halftime in the middle of the game.

Halftime is 15 minutes long and occurs between the second and third quarters. Teams recede to their locker rooms to talk about what happened in the first half and what they can do better in the second half. It is crucial to have a productive halftime in order to see serious progress on the court.

How Many Quarters are there in a Basketball Game?

Usually, in the NBA or in high school, games are split up into four quarters, hence the name quarter. However, the duration of quarters differs between high school and in the NBA. There are four 12 minute quarters in the NBA while quarter-length can be different in many different leagues for high schools. In the NCAA they do not play quarters, they instead play two 20 minute halves.

Duration of Quarters

Basketball NBA Regulation Game Clock

The duration of quarters in high school can differ, but it is normally eight minutes. The duration of quarters for the NBA is 12 minutes. In the international game, the length of quarters is 10 minutes.

How Long is a Quarter in the NBA?

An NBA basketball game consists of regulation and possibly overtime quarters.

In regulation, there are four quarters that last 12 minutes each. This means that there are 48 minutes in regulation.

  • Quarter 1: 12:00
  • Quarter 2: 12:00
  • Quarter 3: 12:00
  • Quarter 4: 12:00

If the score is equal at the end of regulation, extra quarters of game time are played to determine the winning team. In the NBA, overtime quarters last five minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the overtime quarter is the winner.

International Basketball Level

The duration of a basketball quarter at the international level is 10 minutes. There is a two-minute gap between each quarter in the international leagues. These quarters are two minutes less than the duration of a quarter of basketball played in the NBA. Additionally, these quarters in total have the same amount of time as two 20 minute halves in college basketball.


Why are there breaks in between quarters?

There are breaks in between quarters in order to give the players a rest in order for them to be fresh and ready for the start of the next quarter. Halftime is longer than the other breaks between quarters in order to give players an even longer chance to rest for the half ahead of them and to gameplan what they can fix in their game. They can also talk about what they have been doing well and how they can continue to do this in the coming half. Timeouts are also used to give players rest, so they are able to continue playing and competing. Additionally, timeouts can be used for player substitutions. There are also media timeouts, which are used by television stations to pause for station identification.