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  • The game is played 5-on-5 with each team having 5 players on the court

  • Players must dribble the ball while moving with the ball; they cannot travel or carry the ball without dribbling

  • Players have 10 seconds (8 seconds in the NBA) to cross the frontcourt or shoot once the ball is inbounded

  • A held ball or "tie up" results in a jump ball

  • Personal fouls include illegal contact impeding the progress of an opponent; shooting fouls occur when contact affects a shot attempt

  • Players foul out after 5 personal fouls (6 personal fouls in the NBA)

  • Substitutions can be made by either team after the ball becomes dead or during timeouts

  • The shot clock requires a team to attempt a shot within 30 seconds (24 seconds in the NBA) of gaining possession


  • Traveling - Taking more than 1.5 steps without dribbling the ball

  • Double Dribble - Picking up the dribble and then dribbling again without losing possession

  • Out of Bounds - Touching or crossing over the boundary lines results in turnover

  • 3 Seconds - Offensive player staying in the key for more than 3 seconds without actively guarding

  • 5 Seconds - Offensive team failure to advance the ball over the halfway line within 5 seconds

  • 8 Seconds - Failure to move the ball to the frontcourt within 8 seconds of gaining possession

  • Kicking - Intentionally striking the ball with the foot or leg

  • Goaltending - Touching the ball on its downward trajectory to the basket or directly over the cylinder

  • Basket Interference - Touching the rim/backboard/ball while ball is on the rim or within the cylinder

  • Lane Violation - Offensive player entering the lane before the ball is released from a free throw

  • Backcourt Violation - Offense returns ball to backcourt once it is established in frontcourt


  • Personal Foul - Illegal contact against an opponent such as pushing, holding, blocking, charging, etc.

  • Shooting Foul - Personal foul committed on a player in the act of shooting; results in free throws if shot is missed

  • Reaching In - Extending arm(s) and making illegal contact while defending

  • Blocking - Illegal contact using one's body to impede the progress of an opponent with the ball

  • Charging - Offensive foul where offensive player illegally runs through defender who has established position

  • Holding - Illegal use of hands, arms or body to inhibit an opponent's movement

  • Illegal Use of Hands - Pushing, hitting or slapping the ball handler or shooter outside legal guarding position

  • Flagrant Foul - Excessive, violent contact against an opponent with no play on the ball

  • Technical Foul - Foul called for unsportsmanlike non-contact behavior, penalized with 1 free throw

  • Clear Path Foul - Foul from behind on a fast break with no defender between fouled player and the basket

  • Player Control Foul - Offensive foul caused by the offensive player's own momentum or movement


  • A regular field goal made inside the 3-point line is worth 2 points

  • A field goal made from behind the 3-point line is worth 3 points

  • A free throw is worth 1 point

  • A player is awarded free throws if fouled in the act of shooting inside the 3-point line (2 or 3 free throws depending on where the shot was taken) or when a technical foul is called (1 free throw)

  • A player who is fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer is awarded 3 free throws

  • A basket made in the opponents' basket counts for the opponents' score


  • Center: Generally the tallest, they are usually positioned near the basket. Most teams play with 1 center (if you play with 0 centers, teams usually play with 3 guards)

  • Forward: May be called upon to play under the hoop, they may also be required to operate in the wings and corner areas. Most teams play with 2 forwards (power forward and small forward)

  • Guard: Best dribblers, passers and shooters (generally). Most teams play with 2 guards (point guard (brings the ball up the court) and shooting guard), however some times play with up to 4 guards.


  • Games are divided into halves at all levels.

  • In college, each half is twenty minutes long.

  • In high school the halves are divided into eight minute quarters (in nearly all states). In the NBA, quarters are twelve minutes long.

  • There’s a gap between the halves in all games.

  • If the score is tied at the end of regulation, then overtime periods of various lengths are played until a winner emerges.

Court Overview

Basketball Court
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