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How long does the final minute of an NBA game last?

Apr 16, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT

2013 NBA Finals - Game One 2013 NBA Finals - Game One

There are 60 seconds remaining in the game you’re watching on television, and you’re with people who want to leave.

“How much time is left,” they ask.

“One minute,” you reply.

“How long will that really take?” they ask.

We’ve all been there.

Now, thanks to InPredictable, you can give a better estimate than ever: 5.4 minutes.

The site crunched the numbers and found how long each of an NBA game’s 48 minutes takes in real time. Unsurprisingly, the final minute took the longest by a wide margin.

Of course, there are other variables. If college is any indication, close games tend to take longer at the end. I’m sure that applies to the NBA, too.

Plus, as InPredictable found, games on TNT, ABC and ESPN last nearly 15 minutes longer than games on NBA TV and local stations. I’d guess that inflates the final minute as well.

But now we have a starting point to work from: 5.4 minutes.

  1. bballhistorian - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Still not as long as baseball…

  2. sabatimus - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    5.4 minutes may be the starting point, but when a game is close, you KNOW it’s going to be longer than that. 5.4 minutes is merely the average; blowouts aren’t going to reach that number. And that’s pretty much the point: close games ought to be tense fun, but instead they get hampered by constant stoppages.

    In other words, the games that have been an entertaining back-n-forth over 59 minutes suddenly become slog festivals in the 60th minute. It’s one reason I hate basketball (the refs and showboating being others). Give each team one time out, like in hockey. Why are all the timeouts needed anyway?

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      But in close games, that last minute can be extremely entertaining. Think about those close games that have multiple lead changes in that last minute. The games I hate are those with a spread of 7-10 points and the losing team wants to foul to play the “free throw” game.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        @ fanof’


    • calkinsrob - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      I respect your opinion. there definitely is something great about the way hockey has it. But to me I really love to see what teams do out of the their timeouts – see what their inbound plays look like. I like when teams have time to draw up their go to plays.

    • RavenzGunnerz - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Hate basketball but hangout at a basketball site. what’s with people these days.

  3. phillyguyindc - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I always hate it when the game is close but not out of reach because then one team starts the fouling stuff and it just drags on.

  4. davidly - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I been watchin’ the last minute of a game pert-near twenty odd years, now.

    Seriously, fouls in the last couple of minutes should be one shot and possession.

  5. pdub923 - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    There should be a re-play clock, like a shot clock. Refs did it for 70 years without replay. If they can’t get it right after seeing slow-mo for 24 seconds, play on.

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