A time-out in basketball has different rules than a time-out in other sports. The different rules, lengths, and amounts of timeouts vary from sport to sport. They even change between international and American games. A timeout is called for different reasons. They can be used to help their players rest, boost the team morale, prevent a turnover, or help design a play. In the NBA and in college basketball, if a player calls a timeout and there are none left, a technical foul is assessed to the team. During the 1993 NCAA Championship Game, Chris Webber did this with eleven seconds left. This secured the victory for the opponent. Timeouts are a very crucial part of the end of close basketball games, as they can help design plays and strategize.
In international basketball, only the coach can call timeouts. However, in United States sports, the coach or the players can call timeouts. College basketball games allow each team four timeouts of seventy-five seconds and two timeouts that are thirty seconds in length for games that are not televised. Games that are televised are given one sixty second timeout and four thirty second timeouts. This is because there will be four media timeouts that occur during the game each half.
In the National Basketball Association, teams are given one twenty second timeout per half and six regular timeouts during the game. They allow three timeouts to be used in the fourth quarter and two timeouts in the last two minutes. One of the biggest mistakes to occur in the NBA happened in 2008, when Wally Szczerbiak called a timeout with fifteen seconds left when his team did not have any left. His Seattle Sonics eventually went on to lose the close game by four.
Television timeouts can also occur. This happens to allow the media to air commercials. They can be used as a strategic advantage, by resting a player for a minute before one. Therefore, they can rest during the timeout
on the bench without the team having to call a timeout. In the National Basketball, they are called at the six minute mark and the three minute mark. A timeout at the nine minute mark in the second and fourth quarters will occur. The advantage of having television timeouts is that the fans watching on television will not miss any of the game because it is paused to allow the network to show the commercials it is legally suppose to.
Source: R.A. Riter, Associated Content