Through games played on Dec. 6, non overtime games are a little over two minutes longer this year, per numbers provided by the league, and just under three minutes longer on average if you factor in OT games.
A lot of that has to do with the new enforcement of the freedom of motion rules, which has led to more fouls being called this season. In games played through Dec. 5, there were 43.6 fouls being called per game. That’s up four fouls per game from last year and three fouls year to date, according to the NBA.
An NBA game is 4 quarters of 12 minutes each, for a total of 48 minutes. However, regulation time is stopped for many aspects of gameplay, like fouls, ball out-of-bounds, timeouts, and a 15-minute halftime. That makes the wall-clock duration of typical games 2-2.5 hours.
“We’re actually really comfortable in that 2:10 to 2:15 range that we’ve been in,” said Evan Wasch, the NBA’s Senior Vice President of Basketball Strategy & Analytics.
The NBA knew that more fouls would be called this year and that games could end up being a little bit longer, but to improve game flow and give players more freedom of movement, the league deemed it a worthy trade-off.
Is length of game a major issue for the NBA like it is for baseball?
No. But it’s definitely something to monitor as the calendar flips to 2019 and the regular season marches on.
This just means more time to watch your favorite games you wager at your favorite online sportsbook