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The Game of Basketball Continued

This Description of Basketball began on the Basketball Teams Page and concludes here, on the Basketball Description Continued Page. It is recommended that you start your reading from the beginning, at the Game of Basketball.

To play the Game of Basketball, each Team puts 5 Players onto the Court. Each of the Players have an Offensive and Defensive role. Players progress a Basketball - a spherical, leather, inflated ball about 9 3/8” dia. and 29.5” in circumference, pressurized at 7 ½ to 8 ½ pounds - to their Hoop at the Opponents End to shoot the ball into, and down through, to Score a 2 Point Field Goal. The Basketball is inflated with enough air pressure to make it bounce off of a wooden floor back up to a height of  49” - 54” when dropped from 6 ft. The leather casing is commonly 8 panels and contains a rubber bladder to hold the air. To control the ball, Players must use their hands - only! No chests, or heading, or kicking, or even arms. Players may stand and hold the Basketball or throw it to a Team mate - forward or backward. The player may make a Field Goal Attempt, which is to shoot the ball at the Basketball Hoop. However, the player with the ball can not move without bouncing the ball: called ‘Dribbling’. The Player can move 1 foot only, but, must keep the other foot fixed in one place. To move this ‘Pivot Foot’ is a violation called ‘Travelling’, awarding a Throw In by the Opponents. The Player may jump and shoot or pass the Basketball, but, to move away from that spot, in any direction, requires Dribbling the ball. When the Player with the Basketball stops bouncing the ball a complete stop in forward progress must occur to legally retain Possession. The ball could be held, or shot or passed - including a vertical jump before releasing it. The Player could Pivot around maintaining 1 foot fixed in place. If the Player begins to Dribble again it is a Violation called ‘Double Dribble’ and the ball is ‘Turned Over’ to the Opponents. All Violations require a stoppage with a Throw In awarded to the Opponents. If a Dribbling Player touches the ball twice, before it hit’s the floor again, it is also a Double Dribble - thus eliminating the use of two hands to bounce the ball. However, the Basketball is often Dribbled from hand to hand. When Players are holding or Dribbling the Basketball they are ‘In Possession’ of the ball. If a Player looses Possession, by an Opponent taking the ball or knocking it loose, the Player may regain Possession and begin Dribbling again. If the Player looses control without the Opponents actions, then the Player may not be first to touch the ball.

When a Player makes an Attempt to shoot the ball at the Basket it is a Field Goal Attempt. If  the attempt is successful it is a Field Goal and counts 2 Points if shot from inside the ‘Arc’. If the Attempt is shot from outside the 3 Point Field Goal Line then it counts 3 Points, if successful. The Player’s feet must not be over the Line and have released the ball before a step over it touches the floor - at least one foot must be on the floor when the ball is released. A Player may also try a ‘Lay Up’ which is to propel the ball so it enters the Hoop, over the Rim or off of the Backboard, while the Player is running at or past the Basket. Players may jump and shoot, plant both feet on the floor and shoot, or even jump up with the Basketball and ‘Slam Dunk’ or stuff the ball directly into the top of the Basket. Many shots are banked, or caromed, off of the Backboard and into the Goal. The ball can, also, be passed at the Hoop to a Player who jumps up and stuffs it, or taps it, into the basket for an ‘Alley Oop’ play! Sometimes the Slam Dunk can be violent with both hands slamming the ball through the Hoop. Sometimes it can be so violent that the Player rips the Rim and Flange right out of the Backboard - showering all the Players in small chunks of plexi-glass. The Home Team is to have a spare Backboard and the means to install it. Many times the shooter misses the shot and the ball bounces off of the Rim and will not go in. A Team Mate may reach or jump up and tap the ball so it then goes in through the Hoop. This, however, is another shot called a ‘Rebound’. Some Rebounds are simply held onto and others have the Player Dribble away with it. An Offensive Rebound is recovered by the shooting Team, while a Defensive Rebound is recovered by the Defenders. Rebounds are very important, in the Game of Basketball, and the Team recovering the majority of them almost always wins the game. If the ball is still bouncing on the Rim, with a chance to either Score or fall away, it can not be touched or it is a Violation called ‘Goal Tending’ - causing the Attempt to count, if made by the Defense, or a Throw In at the Free Throw Line Extended if made by the Offense.

During the Play, Players illegally prevent their Opponents from shooting a Field Goal or attaining a position on the floor, and it is ‘Whistled Down’ as a ‘Foul‘. Fouls are the Penalties that the ‘Referees’ charge against offending Players. When a Player is Fouled while Attempting a Field Goal, the Basket counts - if successful - and then a Free Throw is awarded to the shooter that counts as 1 Point, if made. All Free Throws count as 1 Point each when successful. This could result in a 3 Point Play. If the Field Goal Attempt is not good then the shooter gets 2 Free Throws - 1 to replace the shot that was illegally blocked and 1 Penalty Free Throw - each counting 1 Point if successful. When a Foul on a 3 Point Field Goal occurs, the shooter would have a chance for a 4 Point Play, or awarded 3 Free Throw Attempts if the original shot did not go in. Ordinarily, a Foul causes a Throw In, by the offended Team - nearest the spot where the Foul occurred, but, between the 28 ft. Hash Marks. However, when a Team is ‘Charged’ with 5 Fouls - 5 Team Fouls - in one half, then the result is 2 Free Throw Attempts are awarded to the Opponents for each Foul Charged after that. A Player is allowed 5 Fouls committed in 1 game, but, when charged with another Foul then that Player is removed from the Game as a ‘Foul Out’ has occurred - including ‘Overtime’.

Basketball Players get Substituted for during a Game, so, they can rest or stay out of ‘Foul Trouble’. Sometimes it is to put a better performing Player back on the floor. The Substitute must identify with the Official Scorer who then informs the Referee Crew Chief. When there is a stoppage due to a Violation, Foul or Time Out, a Horn is sounded to alert the Referees that a Substitution is being made and the Player enters the court from between the Substitution Hash Marks and begins Play. The Substituted Player leaves for the Bench.

A Basketball Game consists of 4 Periods or Quarters, 12 minutes in length, and 5 minute Overtime Periods to decide a ‘Tie‘. If still Tied at the end of Overtime, then another 5 minute Period is Played. Halftime is 15 minutes. The Game begins with a Jump Ball at Centre Court and the Team gaining Possession Inbounds the ball to start the 4th Quarter. The opposing Team Inbounds the ball to start the 2nd and 3rd Quarters. These Inboundings are made as the Referee tosses the ball, from behind the End Line that is behind that Team‘s End, to the Team’s Player, standing close by, and then Throws In the Basketball to start the Quarter.  Overtime is started with a Jump Ball at Centre Court, too. At the end of each Quarter, the last two minutes are known as the 2:00 minute Period and rule differences apply. Normally, the Time Clock keeps running unless a Referee Whistles Down a Play, but, during the last 2:00 of the Game - 4th Quarter or Overtime Period - the Clock stops at each Basket and does not restart until the Basketball is Inbounded and touched. This only takes place for the last 1:00 minute of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Quarters. There are 3 Referees - including a Crew Chief - an Official Scorer and 2 Time Keepers; 1 for the Game Clock and 1 for the 24 Second Shot Clock. When a Team has Possession, the 24 Second Shot Clock begins counting down to a buzzer indicating the Team must turn over the ball for not shooting at the Basket in that time. If the Team in Possession makes a Field Goal Attempt and the ball strikes the Rim, then, the Shot Clock is reset regardless of who retrieves the Rebound. If the Rim is missed, or the ball becomes loose, without the Defenders gaining Possession, then, the Shot Clock continues the same countdown. If the Offensive Team Scores, then the Shot Clock is reset to 24 Seconds and the ball is Inbounded by the Opponents, from between the Hash Marks either side of the Key, and  are in Possession. In addition to the Shot Clock buzzer there is the Player Substitution Horn and the buzzer at the end of a Quarter that coincides with the Backboards lighting up Red.

When a Violation occurs, or a Foul before the offending team has 5 combined Fouls from all Team members - 5 Team Fouls - a Throw In is awarded to the offended or non-violating Team. The Throw In occurs from behind the Side Line, nearest the spot where the infraction took place, but, between the 28 foot Hash Marks on the same side. The Referee holds the Ball in front of the Throw In Player until all Players and Officials are in position: all of the other 9 Players must be Inbounds on the Court before the Throw In can commence. The ball is then given to the Thrower In and it is ’Live’. The Player must keep both feet on the floor to throw it to a Team Mate. The Opponents move with the Offensive Players and try to intercept the Throw In. Illegally performed Throw Ins are retaken. If the ball is thrown Out of Bounds then it is Turned Over. A Throw In, also, occurs for a Basketball that goes Out of Bounds, when a ball touches the Side or End Lines, or a Player in Possession touches one of these Boundary Lines. The ball is Turned Over to the Opponents and a throw In is awarded. On a loose ball that goes Out of Bounds, the ball is awarded to the Opponents of the Player who touched it last. This Throw in occurs nearest where the ball went out - including from the Base Lines or in front of a Bench.

A Violation can be for any offense to the Rules of Basketball, like a Double Dribble, Travelling - also known as Walking, a Kicked ball, Out of Bounds, allowing the ball to go back over the Division Line from Front Court to Back Court, or for taking more than 8 seconds to forward the Basketball over the Division Line: after regaining Possession and after Inbounding the ball from an Opponent’s Score. It is also Violations to exhaust the 24 Second Shot Clock and to spend more than 3 seconds in the Key when the Basketball is not in your Possession or with the Player your Guarding. It is also a Violation to hold the ball longer than 5 seconds, without Dribbling, when you are closely Guarded. Neither Offense or Defense can have Players in the Key longer than a count of 3 Seconds, at either End, when the ball is not In Possession in the Key. A Goal Tending call can be assessed when attempting to block a Field Goal Attempt on it’s downward arc to the Basket. This, also, applies to Attempts that have bounced off of the Backboard on their way to the Goal. While the shot is still rising, on it’s path to the Hoop, it can be legally blocked.

Fouls are for illegal contact on an Opponent and for disrespect to an Official or the Rules of the Game. Basketball Players are entitled to the space they are standing in. However, when arms or legs reach or extend outside this space and contact an Opponent, it is illegal. A Player In Possession must not bump into an Opponent that has established a position on the floor. Conversely, the Defender must not step in front of the Dribbler’s path or reach at a Dribbler moving past. If there is contact then there would be a Foul committed. When the Player with Possession puts the ball up to make a Field Goal Attempt, any contact, by Opponents trying to block the shot, is called. A Player’s hand, that is in contact with the ball, is considered to be part of the ball and can be contacted in trying to knock the Basketball loose. However, the Dribbler’s arm or body can not be contacted and it would be called. A Player, with the ball facing away from the Hoop, must be given room to turn to the Basket, but, if still Dribbling the ball, must not back into a Defender. A Dribbler doing so must not have the back or side toward the Hoop for more than 5 seconds when inside the Free Throw Line Extended. A Player, With Possession, must not run into Defenders while running at the Net, nor, around the Court. Offensive Players must not step into the path of a Defender actively following and covering the Dribbler - it is called an illegal ‘Pick’. Hanging onto the Basketball Ring, after a Slam Dunk, is not permitted unless the player is attempting to avoid causing an injury by landing on another Player. When Free Throws are awarded on a Foul, there is 1 Free Throw Attempt for every Point that could have been Scored. If the Field Goal Attempt is good, then there is 1 Free Throw Attempt awarded extra for the Foul. As much as a 4 Point Play is possible if a shooting Foul occurs on a successful 3 Point Field Goal.

The Basketball Court is Divided Into 2 halves; the ‘Front Court’ - at the Opponents End - and the ‘Back Court’ - at the Team‘s own End. A Team‘s Basket is the Hoop they are Shooting at - in the Front Court - not the one they are Defending. When a Team gains Possession in the Back Court, they have 8 seconds to Forward the ball into the Front Court, over the Division Line, or a Violation occurs. A Team must not be in continuous Possession for more than 8 seconds in the Back Court. There are 3 Jump Ball Circles on the Court: one at Centre Court and 1 at each End centred on each Free Throw Line. A Jump Ball has one Player from each Team facing each other with 1 foot inside a 4 ft. dia. circle - real or imposed - and the other 8 Players outside of a 12 ft. dia. ’Restraining Area‘. Players can position themselves anywhere around the circle, even on the Opponents side, or in the Front Court at Centre Court, but, not adjacent to a Team Mate on the opponent’s side if an Opponent desires to be between them. The Referee holds the Basketball between the two facing Players and when all Players are in position, tosses the ball straight up overhead. Once the ball has reached the highest point and begins to drop, the 2 Opponents jump and try to tip it, or direct the ball, to a Team Mate. Neither Jumper can retouch the ball until it has touched the floor, the basket, the Backboard or one of the other eight Players. Jump Balls are used to start the Game and any Overtime Periods, after a loose ball causes a stoppage without either team In Possession, when the Referees can not agree on a ruling and for other, rarer occasions when the Rules do not completely cover the situation.

During a Free Throw Attempt, some of the Players line up along the sides of the Lane. The other 2 Players from each of the Teams must be outside the 3 Point Field Goal Line. Along the Lane there are 3 positions on each side with dividing Hash Marks on the floor. The two positions, farthest away from the Free Throw Shooter, on either side of the Goal are filled by the Defenders. The next two positions, closer to the shooter, are filled by Team Mates. The third set of positions, nearest the shooter, are filled by one defender only, on either side, and is the counterpart of the shooter. These positions are not filled when a TECH. - Technical Foul - is called.  All Players retreat to their Benches except the shooter who receives 1 Free Throw Attempt for 1 Point without other Players involved, or an ‘Unhindered Attempt’. A Free Throw is also known as a ‘Priviledge’. The Referee stands with the ball and makes sure all Players are in Position before bouncing the ball to the shooter. The shooter then has 10 seconds to make the Attempt or looses the Priviledge. The Shooter must stand completely behind the Free Throw Line and no Player may touch the ball before it has touched the Basket or Backboard. With successive Free Throws the ball is ‘Dead’ between Attempts, but, after the final Attempt the ball is as it would be after a Field Goal Attempt: still in Play for a miss and for the Defenders to Inbound after a successful Basket.

A ‘Common Foul’ is any illegal Physical contact during a ‘Live Ball’. A ‘Technical Foul’ is ‘Unsportsmanlike Conduct’ or Violations from ‘Off Court Players’ and ‘Bench Personnel‘. ‘Double Fouls’ are simultaneous offsetting Fouls. ‘Offensive Fouls’ are committed by Players on Offense, like Charging. ‘Loose Ball Fouls’ are committed when neither Team has Possession. An ‘Elbow Foul’ is illegal contact with the Elbow. ‘Flagrant Fouls’ are committed when there is excessive or unnecessary contact. A ‘Punching Foul’ is committed when a Player makes contact with a Punch on an opponent. ‘Away from the Play Fouls’ are committed by the Defense, ‘Off of the Ball‘, during the last 2:00 minutes of the 4th Quarter or Overtime.

The 3 Referees move back and forth with the Play. The ‘Crew Chief’ stays to the rear of the Play and Officiates from behind the Zone - usually between the two 28 Foot Hash Marks on one side. The Crew Chief has full control over the officials and can make the final decisions. The other two Referees each control 1 half of the Court. The Controlling Referee takes up a position behind the Base Line while the Trailing Referee stands near the 28 foot Hash Mark on the opposite side. When the Play travels to the other End, their positions switch. The other Officials are at the Scorer’s Table: the Official Scorer, the Game Clock Time Keeper and the 24 Second Shot Clock Time Keeper. Referees wear light coloured T-shirts that have black stripes down the shoulders and arms, with black pants and shoes. The Referees enforce the Game with Whistles to stop the Play. Basketball Referees can be Men and/or Women for either gender’s leagues. The 2 Official Timers each have a stopwatch for backup to the electronic clocks. A ‘Dead Ball’ is where Play is stopped and the Game Clock is stopped. A ‘Live Ball’ is where the ball is put at the disposal of a Free Throw Shooter or a Thrower In and when the ball is ‘Tossed’ , but, not yet touched, at Jump Ball. ‘Alive Ball’ is where the ball is released by a Thrower In or Free Throw Shooter and when the ball is ‘Tapped’ at Jump Ball.

Referees make ‘Hand Signals’ to indicate the call on the Play. ‘Basket Interference’ - against Offense - has the pointed finger of one hand rotated around the fist of the other hand - in front of the chest. ‘Blocking’ - the impeding of an Offensive Player - has the hands on the hips. ‘Cancel’ - disallows the preceding Play - arms crossed with palms facing down and then swept out to the sides. ‘Charging’ - Player runs into a stationary Defender - left arm straight out to the side at shoulder height with clenched fist. ‘Designate Offender’ - to identify the offending Player - Official flashes fingers to represent the Player’s number. ‘Direction of Play’ - to indicate which Team is awarded the ball - Official points with a straight arm and finger in the direction of the Team’s Front Court and announces the Team’s Colour. ‘Double Foul’ - for offsetting Fouls - waves clenched fists overhead swept in, crossed, and out, repeated. ‘Goal Tending’ - against Defense - holds up 2 fingers from right arm and waves from the wrist. ‘Holding’ - grasping a wrist with the other hand in front of the chest. ‘Illegal Dribble’ - light clapping motion in front. ‘Illegal Use of Hands’ - striking the back of the wrist with the other forearm. ‘Jump Ball’ - raised thumbs from clenched fists. ‘Loose Ball Foul’ - holding arms out to the side with palms forward, then bending them upright with palm cupped. ‘Personal Foul’ - clenched fist above head. ‘Pushing’ - arms up in front of the face with palms forward extending to imitate a push. ‘Technical Foul’ - one palm flat in front of chest with the other palm vertical underneath the first with a gap between the middle fingers. ‘3 Second Violation’ - one arm held out and above the head indicating three fingers. ‘Travelling’ - rotating fists in front of the chest. ‘24 Second Shot Clock Violation’ - tapping on the head with one hand. ‘Time In’ - clap hands. ‘20 Second Time Out’ - both hands with fingers touching own shoulder.

The guide for how a Basketball Player moves with the ball is a count of 2. When a Player receives the ball and is standing still, either foot can be used as the Pivot foot. But, when the Player receives the ball while running, or stops Dribbling while moving, requires that the back foot of the stride be the Pivot foot. While the ball is being Dribbled there is no count, but, once the ball is held the count begins. The count of 1 is where the ball is held, from there two steps may be taken and then the ball released at 2; Passed or shot Attempt before a Travel Violation. A jump often occurs from the end of the second step to lengthen the time before the release of the ball. Many Players can hold the Basketball from outside the Lane and finish the jump with a Slam Dunk. A Player can Hold the ball while in mid stride, planting the Pivot foot and then taking the allowed 2 steps with a jump from the second step, twisting and manoeuvring and reaching out to put the ball into the Basket having started a long way away from the Hoop.

The ‘Defensive Box’ is the area inside the Key: between the Backboard and the Hash Marks on either side of the Jump Ball Circle. Outside of this Box, the Defense must allow the Player In Possession space enough to land and stop or change direction. Inside The Box, the Defender allows the Offense space to land, but, may block progress to the Basket. Any Player receiving a pass in the Defensive Box can be Guarded immediately with only allowing for an alit Player to land and remain standing. No Player can remain anywhere in the Key for more than 3 seconds unless in Possession of the ball or Guarding a Player in Possession.

All Players are dressed the same and colour co-ordinated per Team. The Uniform is a tank top styled Jersey with the Player’s name across the back of the shoulders and the number on the front and back. The Team name is, also, on the front, above the number. The pants are shorts and colour co-ordinated with the Jersey. The Basketball shoes are from all different manufacturers and are the only equipment permitted to display a Logo. Players may wear padding and protection to protect an injury, but, not to gain an advantage over other Players. This protection must form to the body’s contours and is approved per game.

‘Time Outs’ are a very important part of Basketball. Coaches use them to regroup the Team and give the Players a rest. They can also be used to disrupt the Opponents, who may be on a ‘Scoring Run’. The Coach can go over the Plays with the Players and ready them for tactics of the Opponents. Time Outs are requested from the Referees, who will grant them. The Team wanting a Time Out must have Possession of the Basketball, and during the last 2:00 minutes of the 4th Quarter or Overtime the ball must be Out of Bounds in the Back Court, or before the ball is advanced upon regaining Possession. The full time of a Time Out will be taken before the Referee puts the ball at the disposal of a Thrower In. Play resumes with a Throw In, by the Team who took the Time Out, no further than the 28 foot Hash Mark in the Front Court. The 20 Second Time Out is allotted 1 per half per Team, or two per Game. The requesting Player must say “20 Second Time Out”. A normal Time Out is 60 seconds. A Mandatory Time Out is forced on the Game by the Officials and can be charged to a Team - it is 100 seconds in length. A certain number of Time Outs are required per Quarter and if the Teams do not call a Time out then the Officials must call them at predetermined times - thus Mandatory. There must be two 100 second Time Outs in the 1st and 3rd Quarters. There must be three 100 second Time Outs in the 2nd and 4th Quarters. If there have been no Time Outs taken by 6:00 minutes left, in the 1st or 3rd Periods, a Mandatory 100 second Time Out is called at the next Dead Ball and Charged to the Home Team. If no subsequent Time Out is taken by 3:00 minutes left, then another 100 second Mandatory Time Out is called, at the next Dead Ball, and Charged to the Team not previously Charged a Time Out.   If no Time Outs are taken before 9:00 minutes left in the 2nd or 4th Periods, then a 100 second Mandatory Time Out is called at the next Dead Ball, but, not Charged to either Team. If no subsequent Time Out is taken before 6:00 minutes left, then a 100 second Mandatory Time Out is called, at the next Dead Ball, and Charged to the Home Team. If no more subsequent Time Outs are taken before 3:00 minutes left, then a 100 second Mandatory Time Out is called, at the next Dead Ball, and Charged to the Team not previously Charged a Time Out. When a Team requests a Time Out it is a regular 60 second Time Out unless requesting a 20 second Time Out. A Team has 3 Time Outs per half as well as the 20 second Time Out. A Team may request more than their allotted Time Outs and they will be granted, but, they are, also, Charged with a Technical Foul awarding 1 Free Throw and the Throw In to the Opponents. A Maximum of 3 Time Outs will be granted to a Team in the 4th Quarter and a maximum of 2 Time outs will be granted to a Team in the final 2:00 minute period of the 4th Quarter or Overtime Periods. Time Outs do not carry over into the next Half or Overtime Period. However, 20 Second Time Outs do carry over throughout the Game, including into Overtime.

At the start of a Basketball Game, the Officials must be on the Court prior to the 20 Minute warm-up before the Game. They meet with the Team Captains, before the Play begins, to discuss any information required. Each Team must field a minimum of 8 Players. Officials can correct errors made during the Game by the end of the 4th Quarter. The Official Scorer informs Teams and Referees when a Player has reached 6 Personal Fouls or when a Team is Charged with a Time Out, etc.  The Scorer keeps track of the Name, Number and Position of all starting Players and any Substitutions entering the Game. The Official Timers control the Game Clock and the 24 Second shot Clock. They alert the Referees and both Head Coaches 5 Minutes before the start of the Half. Timers record the Playing Time and all stoppages. The Official Scorer must be provided with the Starting Lineup and the Team Roster prior to the start of the Game. The Teams each have a Captain and a Co-Captain and are the only Players permitted to question Referees’ calls - during a Time out only. Coaching staff and all off Court players must remain in the Bench area. The Head Coach can approach half Court to relay information, but, must return to the Bench immediately. There are 3 assistant Coaches and a Trainer. The Visiting Team has their choice of Basket and the Teams switch ends for the 2nd Half. Overtime Periods are an extension of the 2nd Half and the Ends are not switched. There is a 130 second rest between Quarters and Overtime Periods. A Team is allotted 30 seconds to replace a Fouled Out player. The Game Clock is to show tenths of a second during the 2:00 Minute Periods. The 24 Second Shot Clock will be shut off if there is less than 24 seconds left in a Period when Possession of the ball is gained. The 24 Second Shot Clock will be reset to 14 seconds for certain Defensive Fouls - or left as is, whichever is greater.

The Players are all on the Court with their Substitutes and Coaches on their Benches. The Visitors have chosen their End to Defend. The Crew Chief Referee has the ball at Centre Court and the two Jumpers each step into the Jump Ball Circle. The Referee holds the ball between the Jump Ball players and checks that all players and Referees are in position. The ball is Tossed straight up between the players and, when it starts to fall back down again, the Jumpers leap, straight up as well, reaching for the ball and it gets tipped back to a Team Mate of one of them. The Team Mate passes to another, immediately, who then begins to Dribble the ball and advance toward the Front Court. The Defenders scramble about taking up positions in their Back Court under and around the Basket, while the Offense sets up around the 3 Point Field Goal Arc. One Defender approaches the Player in Possession and begins to Press: blocking the Dribbler’s line of sight and angles to Pass the ball. The ball is held and immediately is Passed up and over the Guard across the zone to a Team Mate who then fires it to another Team Mate, now wide open beside the basket - the Attempt hit’s the Rim and bounces out in front where a Defender grabs the Defensive Rebound and holds onto the ball until sure the opponents are falling back to Guard their Back Court. Now on Offense, the Player dribbles the ball up to the 3 Point Field Goal Line, in the Front Court, with a newly set 24 Second Shot Clock now ticking down again. As the Opponents, now Defenders, begin covering the Offense the ball is Passed into the corner outside the 3 Point Line and the Field Goal Attempt rises high up over the coverage and down onto the Rim where it bounces and continues on, but, only for a second as a Team Mate jumps up for the Offensive Rebound and stuffs it into the Basket for 2 Points. The Score is 0 - 2.

The Defenders collect the ball Passing it to a Team Mate behind the Basket and behind the Base Line. The Team Mate Inbounds the ball, between the Hash Marks, to a Forward who races up the floor into the Front Court - with no fear of Violating the 8 seconds in the Back Court rule as the ball is over the Division Line quickly. The Forward throws up what looks like a Field Goal Attempt that is going to miss, but, comes down into the Centre’s hands - up beside the Basket - who Slams it into the Hoop for 2 Points: an Alley Oop Play! The Guard collects the ball under the Hoop and walks it Out of Bounds behind the Lane and then fires the Basketball way down Court into the hands of a breaking Team Mate who goes in all alone to the Basket for the Lay Up. The Score is 2 - 4. Now the Basketball is Inbounded to the other Rear Guard and is now being Dribbled while slowly advancing toward the Division Line at Half Court. The 24 Second Shot Clock ticks down to 18 and then 17 as the Dribbler steps over the line. The ball is Passed to a Team Mate, in the Lane, who jumps up to make a Field Goal Attempt. A Defender slaps at the ball in an effort to block the shot and contacts the shooter’s arm: the Attempt is Good! The Referee blows the Whistle, then straightens an arm with a fist, indicating the Basket Counts and a Free Throw Attempt is awarded. All the Players must line up for the Free Throw Attempt: the Shooter steps up behind the Free Throw line awaiting the ball, two Defenders take positions on either side of the Lane beside the Basket, Two Team Mates of the Shooter take up the next 2 positions closer to the Free Throw Line, and another Defender, only 1, takes up a position on one side of the Lane that is adjacent to the Shooter’s Team Mates, while two more Defenders and Two more Team Mates are now outside of the 3 Point Field Goal Line - all are now motionless. The Referee has the ball and sees that the other Players and Referees are in position. The ball is bounced to the Free Throw Shooter who now has 10 seconds to make the Attempt. The Basketball is shot and successful! Completing a 3 Point Play with the Field goal that was Good. The ball must be Inbounded again from the Baseline, by the Defenders, who now are on Offense. The Score is 5 - 4.

As the Guard Throws the ball to a Team Mate it is intercepted by a Pressing Defender who steps to the Basket and Slam Dunks it into the Goal. The Score is now 7 - 4. Quickly recovering, the Guard makes sure this time, and Passes the ball to an open Player who, then, Dribbles into the Front Court and allows the other four to set up around their Goal. The Defenders give the Dribbler just a little too much room as they try to cut off the angles and options for Passing. The Dribbler quickly makes a 3 Point Field Goal Attempt and puts the Basketball right into the Hoop without touching the Backboard or the Rim - Swish! The Score is now 7 - 7. The Play continues this way with many successful Field Goals and many misses: causing Rebounds and Turnovers. Sometime during the 1st Half each team will collect 5 Team Fouls and the result is Free Throw Attempts awarded to the Opponents every Foul. Eventually, a Time Out will be called and the Players gather at each of their Benches to rest and discuss their strategy for the next part of the Game. If a Time Out is not called before 6:00 minutes left in the 1st Quarter then a Mandatory Time Out is called at the first Dead Ball - by the Official Scorer - so that there are Time Outs all through the Game. Professional Basketball is a high Scoring Game with tallies above 100 Points quite common. This would average 25 Points a Quarter and make the pace very fast.

Later in the Game, in the 2:00 Minute Period of the 4th Quarter, the Game is close: 95 - 92. The Home Team is now Throwing In the Basketball from their Front Court 28 foot Hash Mark after the Time Out they requested. A Team Mate takes the Throw and begins Dribbling around the Arc. Followed by a Defender, the Dribbler walks past a motionless Team Mate who forces the coverage to go around. This gives the Dribbler a chance to break for the Basket and, as the Key is entered, finds the path Blocked. Quickly turning and Passing into the corner, a Team Mate goes to shoot, but, fakes the Attempt and begins Dribbling and running back around the 3 Point Field Goal Line looking for an opening, or an open Player. The Defenders concentrate on the other 4 of the Offense and the Player In Possession sees a little room to scoot through and approach the Goal. Running into the Lane and jumping for the Lay Up the shooter’s arm is knocked and the ball bounces off of the Rim and down to the floor. Contact, and 2 Free Throws are awarded to the Home Team. With everyone in their positions, the Referee bounces the ball to the Free Throw shooter, standing at the ‘Stripe’, who ‘Puts It Up’ - and its good. The Offensive Players all move toward the shooter and slap hands after the Score. With Players and Officials back to their places, the Referee bounces the ball to the shooter, again, who then Puts It Up again. This time the Free Throw Attempt misses and all of the Players, along the Lane, rush in to retrieve the loose ball, where it is recovered by the Defenders who now are the Offense and have a ‘Fresh’ 24 Second Shot Clock. No Inbounding required, the Offense Dribbles the ball toward the Front Court. This is the Team that is winning, so, using up as much of the 24 seconds as possible is their main plan. The Shot Clock reaches 20 - 19 - 18 as the Dribbler steps over the Division Line at mid-Court. The Defenders are desperate to get the Basketball back. Trailing by 2 with less than a Minute left in the Game, the Home Team needs to stop the Visitors with a Steal or an Offensive Rebound. The Offense begins Passing the ball and taking turns Dribbling to whoever has an upper hand in their position. Still, the Visitors need to Score as the buzzer is a few possessions away, yet. The Shot Clock ticks down to 6 - 5 - 4 and then a Player breaks for the side of the Hoop to receive the Pass and Slam it into the Basket. The Score is 97 - 93.

With less than half a minute remaining the Home Team requests a Time Out. The full 60 seconds will be given before the ball is held in front of the Home Team’s Throw In Player, down the Side Line in the Front Court at the 28 foot Hash Mark. The ball is Thrown In and is then Dribbled around the Arc. The Offense does not want to use up too much time because there is a lot of time left, but, realistically needs to Score and then Score again - to overcome a ‘Two Possession’ lead. The Dribbler sees an opening: the Defenders react and close up the path, but, the shooter veers off avoiding the ‘Charge’ and loops the ball up, and over the Defense, down off of the Backboard and into the Basket for 2 Points. The Visitors are again on the Offense with the Score 97 - 95. They Inbound the ball and slowly dribble up to mid-Court and across it before it would be called. Again, they want to Score, but need to waste time to not allow the Home Team a chance to come back. The Dribbler Passes and then it is Passed and Dribbled again, and again. One final Pass to make a Field Goal Attempt, before the 24 Second buzzer, and NO! It is intercepted: by a lunging Defender who immediately rushes past the standing Guards and goes down the floor to Slam it into the Hoop for the Score! 97 -97 and the Home Crowd roars their approval. The Time Clock is stopped, after the Goal, and with 6.3 seconds left the Visitors call a Time Out. Music is blaring in the arena and the Cheer Leaders are out on the floor as the Players of both Benches huddle around their Coaches who may have diagrams to display, just reminders of what to watch to mention or perhaps words of encouragement to complete the next Possession: Score or regain the ball. The Visitors Throw In and begin to Dribble - trying to run down the Clock, but, Score before the buzzer. The 24 Second Shot Clock is dark as the basketball is Passed, and Passed again, where the Field Goal Attempt hit’s the Rim and bounces away - recovered by the Defense: Time Out! charged to the Home team with 0.9 seconds on the Clock. This was their last 20 Second Time Out so the Throw In happens quickly. The ball is given to the Thrower In at the Front Court and an open Player is looked for before 5 seconds are up. One Team Mate runs back, well behind the Arc, and it is the Team’s best shooter. He receives the ball and Puts It Up, all in one motion: high in the air to avoid the rushing Defender and to have a better angle to put the basketball through the Hoop with. It’s GOOD! And the Home Team wins: 97 - 100 as the ball was on the way to the Basket before the buzzer, and the Time Clock reaching 0:00.

Well, this was just regular season! The final Minute of a Playoff  Game could take Ten Minutes to complete, with Throw Ins, Free Throws, Fouls to stop the Game Clock, and Time Outs all strategically carried out according to plan. Basketball is a high scoring, offensive minded game producing explosions of excitement and entertainment not found in other sports.

Now you know what‘s going on in a Game, and your ready to know what to look for in the next Games that you see. Pro Sports Official Team Sites Basketball Teams Page can link you with all the action, right to the Basketball source; the Professional Teams and Leagues. Their Basketball news pages will keep you up to date. Rule differences for the WNBA are at the bottom of the Basketball Teams Page.


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