If you’re a basketball fan, you might be wondering how many games are played in an NBA season. The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think, as the NBA schedule has gone through changes over the years.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The NBA regular season consists of 82 games per team, typically played from October to April.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the NBA schedule and how it has evolved over time. We’ll also explore the current NBA season structure and what fans can expect from the upcoming season.

The Evolution of the NBA Schedule

The NBA schedule has come a long way since its inception in 1949. The league has gone through several changes and variations over the years, with the number of games in a season being one of the most significant adjustments. Let’s take a look at how the NBA schedule has evolved over time.

Early Days of the NBA

When the NBA was first established, the schedule was very different from what we see today. The inaugural season in 1949-1950 featured only 17 teams, and each team played a total of 60 regular-season games. The teams would often play multiple games against each other in the same week to minimize travel expenses.

As the league grew in popularity, the schedule expanded to 72 games in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the teams still played multiple games against each other in the same week, and the schedule was not as balanced as it is today.

Expansion and the 82-Game Schedule

The NBA continued to expand, and by the 1970s, the league had grown to 18 teams. The schedule was increased to 82 games per season, with each team playing 41 home games and 41 road games. This schedule has remained in place for over 40 years.

The 82-game schedule has been a significant factor in the league’s success. It allows for a balanced schedule, with each team playing every other team in the league at least twice (once at home and once on the road). This format has helped to reduce travel and create more exciting and competitive games.

Changes and Variations

While the 82-game schedule has been the norm for many years, there have been some variations and changes over time. For example, the 2011-2012 season was shortened to 66 games due to a lockout, and the 2020-2021 season was shortened to 72 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other changes have included adjustments to the playoff format, such as the introduction of the play-in tournament in the 2020-2021 season. The NBA has also experimented with different start times for the regular season, with the 2018-2019 season starting earlier than usual to allow for more rest days between games.

The Current NBA Season Structure

The NBA season is divided into four main sections: preseason, regular season, playoffs, and the NBA Finals.

Preseason: The preseason is a series of exhibition games that take place before the regular season starts. Each team usually plays between four to six preseason games. Preseason games give teams the opportunity to fine-tune their rosters and test out new strategies.

Regular Season: The regular season is the main part of the NBA season, during which each team plays a total of 82 games. This is broken down into two conferences, the Eastern and Western Conferences, each with 15 teams. Teams play against every team in their own conference four times per season (60 games) and against every team in the opposite conference twice (22 games). The regular season starts in October and ends in April.

Playoffs: The playoffs start in April and consist of the top eight teams from each conference. Teams are seeded based on their regular-season records, with the top seed playing the eighth seed, the second seed playing the seventh seed, and so on. The playoffs are a best-of-seven series, with the first team to win four games advancing to the next round.

The NBA Finals: The NBA Finals is the championship series of the NBA and takes place in June. The two conference champions face off in a best-of-seven series to determine the NBA champion.

The NBA season is a long and grueling one, with teams playing a total of 1,230 games in the regular season alone. However, it’s also an exciting time for basketball fans, with plenty of opportunities to watch their favorite teams and players compete at the highest level.

What to Expect from the Upcoming NBA Season

COVID-19 Protocols

The NBA is taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of players, coaches, and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The league has implemented strict health and safety protocols, including regular testing, mandatory masks, and social distancing guidelines. In addition, the NBA has restricted travel and limited the number of fans allowed in arenas. These protocols may change throughout the season as the situation evolves.

New Rules and Regulations

The NBA has implemented new rules and regulations for the upcoming season. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of an in-season tournament, which will take place in December. The tournament will feature all 30 teams and will award a $1 million prize to the winning team. Additionally, the league has made changes to the coach’s challenge system and expanded the use of replay reviews.

Top Teams and Players to Watch

The NBA features some of the best basketball players in the world, and the upcoming season is no exception. The Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are the defending champions and will be a team to watch. The Brooklyn Nets, with the addition of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are also expected to be a top team. Other contenders include the Milwaukee Bucks, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Fans can also look forward to exciting performances from rising stars like Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic.


In conclusion, the NBA regular season consists of 82 games per team, which typically take place from October to April. While the NBA schedule has gone through changes over the years, the current structure includes preseason, regular season, playoffs, and the NBA Finals.

As we approach the upcoming NBA season, fans can expect some changes and adjustments due to COVID-19 protocols and new rules and regulations. However, there will still be plenty of exciting basketball to watch, with top teams and players competing for the championship title.

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