A brief interruption in the period of play during which the clock is stopped. Teams use time-outs to rest players, make substitutions and plan strategies.
In the NBA, teams are given seven 60-second time-outs over the course of the game and one 20-second time-out per half.
During the last two minutes of regulation, teams can use time-outs to advance the ball to the halfcourt line if (1) the ball is out of bounds in the backcourt or (2) there is no attempt to advance the ball after securing it from a rebound or a change of possession. Each team is limited to no more than four time-outs in the fourth quarter and no more than three time-outs in the last two minutes of regulation.
Players and coaches can call a time-out, but they have to do so when there is a dead ball or their team has clear possession of the ball. Having said that, if a team calls a time-out when it has none left, it will be charged a technical foul.