How many games are there in the NBA regular season?

The Larry O'Brien Trophy (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for National Archives Foundation)
The Larry O'Brien Trophy (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for National Archives Foundation) /

The NBA is all about the postseason and winning a championship. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have super-teams and/or superstar trade demands every year. The NBA regular season is diminishing in importance – but that doesn’t mean it’s not important at all.

Though it hasn’t seemed as critical of late, playoff seeding and homecourt advantage is still important – just ask the 2023 NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, who won the most games in the Western Conference’s regular season to finish as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

It may be fading, but the league’s regular season still holds importance.

How many games are in the NBA regular season?

Each team plays 82 regular-season games, 41 at home and 41 away, that span from October to April.

As the league expanded, the number of games went from 48 in 1947-48 to 60 the following year. It eventually jumped to 72 games in 1953-54 and the now-82 game schedule in 1967-68.

Notable exceptions include: the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season (50 games), the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season (66 games) and the 2019-20 season that was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic (teams played a varying total of games).

The 2020-21 season was shortened to 72 games because of the shortened offseason following the pandemic season.

For the first time in league history, the NBA will host an in-season tournament in ’23-24. Similar to in-season tournaments in European soccer, there will be a group stage in which each team plays four regular-season contests that count as tournament play.

There will then be knockout rounds for the final 16 teams, culminating in a final four being played in Las Vegas Dec. 7 and 9.

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