How many quarters are in a NBA game?

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

In baseball, you have innings. In football, you have quarters. In hockey, you have periods. In golf, you have holes. And in soccer (aka futbol), you have halves.

In basketball, or at least at the NBA level, you have quarters (and halves). In the NBA, you have four quarters. Each quarter is exactly twelve minutes long. The first two quarters are considered the first half. And the last two quarters, and everything that comes after them (more on this in a bit), is considered part of the second half.

This is different than the men’s college format, where, just like in soccer, you have two halves and no quarters. However, unlike soccer, in college, the halves are 20 minutes each (instead of 45 minutes each).

What happens when there is a tie?

So, what happens if, after four twelve-minute quarters, the score is still even Steven? As is the case with most sports, the game will go into overtime. For the NBA, their overtime quarters are reduced to five-minute segments.

However, unlike professional sports like futbol and American football, NBA regular season games can never end in a tie. The two teams will simply keep playing those five-minute overtime segments until a winner is decided. And the thing about overtime, no matter how many of them are required, they all fall under the second half umbrella (that matters for betting purposes).

What is the most overtimes ever required to decide an NBA game?

In most situations, it doesn’t take more than one or two overtime sessions to uneven the score. However, there once was a time when six overtimes were required to decide the outcome of the 1951 clash between the Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals (crazy enough, the final score of that game was just 75-73).

The most overtimes needed in a New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets game was three. This came on December 2nd, 2013, when they clashed against the Chicago Bulls. For those wondering, they ended up winning that game 131-128.

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