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How Does NBA Overtime Work? Rules Explained

Here's an explanation of NBA overtime rules, just in case you need a refresher. 

With the NBA playoffs in full swing and every second counting more than ever, it's a good time to revisit the NBA's overtime rules—especially if you're a casual fan who hasn't watched much NBA recently. 

In the NBA, after the score is tied at the end of regulation, the teams play a five-minute overtime period. There are 130 seconds between the end of regulation and overtime. 

The NBA uses a quarter-possession rule to start periods after the opening jump. 

Each team will have two team timeouts per overtime period; previously, teams had three.

The entire overtime period is played with no sudden-death provision. All personal fouls are carried over to overtime.

If the score is still tied at the end of overtime, the teams play another overtime period. 

Six overtime periods has been the most needed to determine a winner when the Indianapolis Olympians defeated the Rochester Royals 75–73 in six overtimes in 1951.