How Many Games Are There In An NBA Season?

The NBA season is one of the most awaited times of the year for basketball fans worldwide. With 30 teams composing the NBA, a lot can happen during the stretch of an NBA season. 

So, how many games are there during an NBA season, and why are there so many? 

Each of the 30 NBA teams will play 82 games during the regular season, with 41 games played at home and the other 41 played away. Eight teams in each conference will proceed to the playoffs to fight for the championship. An NBA season usually starts in mid-October and ends in June.

However, the 82 games are only the tip of the iceberg of what happens during an NBA season.

How many games are there in an NBA Season?

Each of the 30 NBA teams plays 82 regular-season games. Half of those 82 will be played at their homecourt and the other half away from home.

The total number of regular-season games will be divided into division games, games against teams within the same conference, and games against the other.

After the regular season, the top 6 teams in each conference will secure a playoff spot.

Then, the top 7-10 teams will play sudden-death games to determine which two teams will get the final two slots of the eight playoff teams in their respective conferences.

While the 82 games are the standard length of the regular season, there are situations when teams may play fewer games, like lockdown seasons, postponed games deemed irrelevant in the standing to re-schedule, and the pandemic.

Why does the NBA play so many games? 

NBA game

The NBA has been playing 82-game seasons since 1967, even with fewer teams.

With the phase of NBA games becoming faster and more physically demanding, more players, especially the stars, are taking more rest and playing fewer games during the regular season.

But even with a growing case for a shorter season, here are some of the reasons why the NBA will keep the 82-game season until the foreseeable future:

  • Teams should play each other at least twice during the season, even if it’s not in the playoffs.
  • Fans want to see rival teams play each other more.
  • The NBA season is a money-making machine for the league and the owners, so the more extended season means more revenue.

How many times do NBA teams play each other in a season? 

There are several ways to break down the number of games a team will play each team during the season.

Considerations like divisions, conferences, and inter-conference games will vary per team.

Here is a breakdown of the 82 total games per team in an NBA season:

  • Four games against teams in the same division – 16 games
  • Four games against six teams in the other two divisions from the same conference- 24 games
  • Three games against the rest of the teams in their conference – 12 games
  • Two games each against the 15 teams from the other conference – 30 games

The total of these games is 82 games.

For every head-to-head team matchup, there will be at least one home and one away game.

Aside from the 82 regular-season games, there are also eight preseason games to prepare players and teams for the whole duration of the season.

What is the All-Star Break? 

The All-Star Break in the NBA happens in the middle of the regular season, which is held every February.

During this time, there are exhibition games, skills challenges, and the much-awaited NBA All-Star Game. The games during this time are not included in the NBA season games.

What is the NBA Play-in Tournament? 

The NBA Play-in Tournament is a recent addition to the NBA games to determine the final teams qualifying for the playoffs.

Before the inclusion of the play-in tournament, the top 8 teams from each conference will automatically be the playoff teams, but this all changed when the NBA added the play-in tournament.

After the regular season, only six teams will qualify for the playoffs instead of the eight teams.

Then the top 7 to 10 will compete to determine who will get the seventh and eighth slots.

How many games are there in the Playoffs? 

basketball game in a TV

The playoffs are what each team played hard for during the long NBA season. It is composed of four rounds with best-of-seven games each.

The team to win the four rounds will be the NBA Champion.

Ideally, the playoffs can be as short as 16 games if a team sweeps all the series – which has never happened yet in the seven-game playoff format.

For the long playoff scenario, a team can play as many as 28 games if they have to play all rounds to the seventh.

NBA Season Games vs. Other Leagues

LeagueNumber of Games Per Season
1. NBA82 Games
2. WNBA36 Games
3. NCAA25 -35 Games
4. FIBAVaried

Does a more extended season cause more injuries? 

Many speculations are saying that the increasing frequency of injuries among NBA players is the number of games in a season, so more players are calling to decrease the NBA regular-season games.

However, some would also argue that the number of games had been 82 for over 50 years.

According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, it is not the total number of games but the frequency of back-to-back games or three games in a row that causes injuries.

What is an NBA Lockout Season? 

Earlier, we learned that the regular NBA season is composed of 82-games, with 41 games played at home and the other 41 played away.

However, there are seasons when players, owners, or the NBA don’t agree on collective bargaining agreements.

During a lockout, one of its possible effects on players and fans is the loss of games that shortened the season.

The two latest NBA Lockouts that resulted in shortened seasons are the 98-99 Season with only 50 games and the 2011-12 Season with 66 games.


The NBA Season can be short for fans and team owners but too long for the players. So since the NBA is an endurance sport where a player can only be as effective as he is healthy, a compromise between the number of games is necessary.

Leave a Comment