Main Body

1. Rules and Scoring

Basketball has many intricate rules and regulations. The International Basketball Federation has done a nice job of teasing out the most basic rules and explaining them, along with defining some of the key basketball jargon. Read through the content and links below to learn about the game and its rules.

The Game

First, access FIBA’s basic rules of Basketball. Review the six categories:

  • Number of players
  • Positions
  • Scoring
  • Violation
  • Fouls
  • Referee signals

Next, check out rules from the NBA’s website; specifically read through the following:

1. Rule No. 3 – Players, Substitutes and Coaches

2. Rule No. 4 – Definitions

3. Rule No. 5 – Scoring and Timing

4. Rule No. 7 – 24-Second Clock

5. Rule No. 10 – Violations and Penalties

6. Rule No. 11 – Basketball Interference – Goaltending

7. Rule No. 12 – Fouls and Penalties


Players can score 1, 2, 3 (or even 4 points) during a possession.

  • Players score 3 points for any basket made beyond the 3 point line, in bounds.
  • Players score 2 points for any basket made inside the 3 point line, in bounds.
  • Players score 1 point for made free throws.

Free throws are shots when in a player is fouled in the act of shooting. A free throw shot is also taken when the other team is over the foul limit, putting the offensive team in a bonus “1 and 1” situation:

  • Seven or more fouls: when a defensive team exceeds the foul limit (7+ fouls), the offensive teams receives a bonus each time they are fouled. The “1 and 1” situation refers to a free throw structure in which if the first free throw is made, the player can attempt another free throw. However, if the first free throw is missed, it is a live ball and both teams can attempt to rebound the ball.
  • Ten or more fouls: if an opposing team exceeds the second foul limit (10+ fouls), the offensive team is given a double bonus in which 2 free throws are awarded for each foul, regardless of whether the first free throw is made or not.

If a player is fouled in the act of shooting, and the ball goes in the basket, the player is allowed an “And 1” free throw. Under normal circumstances, if a player is fouled in the act of shooting and misses the shot, the player is awarded 2 free throws.

As an example, suppose a player drives the basketball, pulls up to shoot, but on the way down is fouled by the defender. Also suppose that the ball went into the basket during the play. The player is awarded 2 or 3 points, depending on where the shot was attempted, plus an additional free throw. Thus, theoretically, a 4 point play exists when a player attempts a 3 point shot that goes in but is also fouled. Making the “And 1” free throw will result in a 4 point play.


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Ch.1 - Basketball Copyright © by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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