Each team plays 82 games during the regular season, 41 at home and 41 away. The NBA schedule permits each team to play each other team at least once at home and once away. During the regular season, all NBA clubs play a total of 1230 games. In addition, there are five more games that count towards the standings but do not determine any prize money: A quarterfinal game for each conference's top seed; a semifinal game for the next two highest seeds; and the championship series for the top three teams.
The NBA began its current playoff format in 1994. Previously, the top ranked team was given a bye into the second round. The remaining 11 teams played a best-of-five series with the first-place team getting a half point bonus for each game they win. The 1994 playoffs featured four games that went to overtime for a total of 102 points scored. That record was broken by 1995 when three more games went beyond regulation time resulting in 110 points being scored over the course of six games.
There were calls from some corners of the basketball world to eliminate the overtimes but the NBA Board of Governors refused. They believed that ending the season too early would cause problems for the league in future years when more teams might try to make up lost games by playing multiple rounds of overtime. Instead, the board approved giving the #1 seed a half point bonus for reaching the Finals.
Each squad will play two to four exhibition games, with at least one at home and one on the road. The NBA has said that the national broadcast schedule for preseason games would be "announced at a later date."
The first exhibition game was played on October 11, 1947. The last regular season game before the All-Star break is traditionally given an extra attention when both teams are fighting for playoff spots. This year's game will be played on February 18th between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
The second game of the exhibition is used by teams as a chance to evaluate their own players in a competitive setting, while the third game is usually against another team who wants to show they're worthy opponents. The final exhibition game is often used by teams as a finale to their pre-season preparations.
In recent years, all 30 teams have taken part in some form of pre-season tournament, with most playing several games within this time span. The top eight teams from each conference make it into the playoffs, which are divided up into two rounds. In round one, the highest seed plays the lowest seed while in round two, the winner of round one faces off against the runner-up from the other conference. The Finals are then held over two games during the last week of August/first week of September.
Aside from regular season games, there are four playoff rounds with seven games in each (qualifying) round. If a club makes it to the NBA finals, it will have played 28 games more than the other teams who did not make it. The NBA has an average game length of 3 hours and 49 minutes.
During the regular season, some teams may play more or less games depending on how they are doing relative to the rest of their division or the entire league. For example, if a team is holding its own against the other contenders but hasn't been able to pull away yet, its management may choose not to go all-out for home court advantage by playing them too many games. On the other hand, if they are struggling mightily and needs some kind of spark, they may feel the need to give themselves a chance by putting their players' health at risk by playing them too many games.
The number of games that a team plays during the regular season depends on several factors such as how far they are trying to go in the standings, how much time remains until the end of the season, and so on. However, once the playoffs start, there are strict limits on how many games can be played.
Each NBA basketball game lasts forty-eight minutes, excluding overtime. At any given moment, five members from the same team will be on the court. In an NBA basketball game, a team can play for a total of 240 minutes in regulation time. If there is a need for a longer game, then it may be decided by using two 10-minute periods or four 5-minute periods.
In addition to playing the entire game, a player who enters the arena during regular season action will have a chance to influence the outcome of the game. For example, if a player comes into the game for his team during fourth quarter action, then it will usually not matter much because his team will most likely already have enough points to win. However, if he comes in during early in the fourth quarter or first half, then he can have a big impact on the outcome of the game. He can give his team a boost by making some shots or avoiding mistakes, or he can hurt his team's chances by turning the ball over or getting caught looking for his own shot when he should be helping his teammates.
Players are allowed three fouls per game; once you reach that limit, you must leave the game. You can tell how many fouls a player has by looking at the numbers next to his name on the official score sheet.