How long do basketball games last

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There are sports in which the matches’ duration is variable and others instead that have a predetermined duration, such as basketball, for example.

How long do basketball games last?

How long do basketball games last

In Italy and Europe, the basketball games last 40 minutes. In American basketball, that is to say. In the NBA tournaments, the last 48 minutes. However, these times are to be considered minimum as they do not consider the intervals between one period and the next, the seconds of recovery in the event of an infringement and any overtime.

In the past, basketball games consisted of 2 periods of 20 minutes each, while now they are characterized by 4 periods of 10 minutes each: each, 12 minutes for the NBA. Between the first and second periods and between the third and fourth periods, there are 2 minutes, while the interval allowed after the first twenty minutes of play is wider, i.e., between the second and the third period. Here, basketball players can rest for 10 minutes before resuming playing.

As for overtime, they are granted if the match ends in a draw and are played until a team score; each overtime lasts 5 minutes.

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Rules of basketball

The playing field

The main basketball competitions are usually played indoors in large multidisciplinary facilities called sports halls, whose ceiling must be at the height of at least 7 m from the playing field, which is a rectangle 15 meters wide and 28 meters long with the floor in wood (mandatory for the most important competitions), rubber or synthetic delimited by lines.
These lines must be 5 centimeters wide and visible, preferably white. The perimeter line delimits the field without being part of it. There must be an area around 2 meters wide without obstacles.
Inside the field, there are other lines, drawn with the same color and always 5 cm wide:

the central one divides the parquet into two halves and must extend 15 cm outside the perimeter line.
The central circle must have a diameter of 3.6 meters.
the free-throw line must be 3.6 meters long and 5.8 meters away from the perimeter line under the basket and centered concerning the width of the court
the semicircles of the free throw lunettes must have a radius of 1.8 meters and are drawn starting from the midpoint of the free-throw line;
the rectangular area, located near the basket called the three-second area, has a base of 4.9 meters, while the length coincides with the free-throw line
the lines of the notches (also called “high post” and “low post”) that delimit the spaces for the bounce are drawn on the outer edge of the three-second area, identifying the place where the five rebounders can position themselves during a free throw.
Within the three-second area, there is a semicircle (commonly called “smile”) with a radius of 1.25 meters, originating in the projection on the ground of the center of the basket that delimits the no-break-through zone.
The three-point throw line, which delimits the three-point throw area, is formed by a semi-circumference 6.75 meters away from the basket and two parallel lines that extend perpendicularly from the baseline, with the outer edge 0.90 m from the inside edge of the sidelines.

The equipment

There are also some basketball rules concerning the equipment: two backboards, two baskets and the related support and protection systems.
The scoreboards are placed inside the playing field, at a distance of 1.20 m from the end line. Usually, the boards are placed on supports that remain almost totally outside the lines of the field. The baskets are hung from the backboards, composed of an iron ring with a diameter of 45 cm and a net of white rope.

The ball

The rules of basketball also concern the ball, which must be spherical, of rough leather or synthetic material, to facilitate the players’ grip even with sweaty hands and be of the right hardness. It is usually orange-brown, with black lines. According to the regulation, the ball can have a circumference that varies between 72.4 cm (women’s competitions) and 78 cm (men’s competitions), with a corresponding diameter of about 23 and 25 cm, respectively, and a weight between 510 and the 753 grams.

The rules of the game of basketball

Two teams of five players each play the match. Each team also has several reserves that can vary from 5 to 7, which can replace the starting players without limitations and, in turn, be replaced. A player who has been substituted may, in any case, return to the field in substitution of a teammate. Only in cases in which a player is assigned 5 fouls or is sent off can he no longer play the game and must be replaced.

How long does a basketball game last?

Each of the two teams aims to score more points than the team by passing the ball inside the opponent’s basket ring (offensive phase) and preventing the players of the other team from doing the same (defensive phase). One team must have scored more points than the other at the end of the match to win.
How long does a basketball game last?
Each session lasts 40 minutes, divided into 4 periods of 10 minutes of actual play each. Between the 2nd and the 3rd session, there is a break ranging from 10 to 20 minutes.
Each team has 24 seconds to make an attack. If it fails, possession passes to the opposing team. The 24 seconds are reset whenever the ball changes possession.
At the end of the 4th period, the match will be extended by another 5 minutes (extra time) and in the event of a further tie, the match will continue to the bitter end.


The points are counted by assigning a score to each basket according to the place where the thrower was and the type of shot taken:

1 point: it is awarded for each goal made by taking a free throw
2 points: are awarded for each goal made by shooting inside the area bounded by the 3-point line.
3 points: are awarded for each goal made by shooting outside the 3-point area.

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