NBA Basketball Rules and Terminology on Fouls for Beginners

The goal of a basketball game is score more points than the opponent. Teams score by putting the basketball in the hoop. Teams score two points for a basket, unless it is beyond the three-point line, where they receive three points. A team receives one point for each free throw made after a foul or rules violation.

NBA Rules for Personal Fouls and Team Fouls

When there is excessive contact between players, a foul may be called. If a player commits a foul he is assessed a personal foul. If a player accumulates six personal fouls, he is required to leave the game.

If a player commits a foul when the other team has the ball, it is called a defensive foul. If the neither team has clear possession when a foul it committed, it is called a loose–ball foul. In these situations, along with the personal foul, his team is also assessed a foul, called a team foul.

If the team commits a foul while having possession of the ball, referred to as an offensive foul, a personal foul is assessed, but no team foul is charged.

When does an NBA Team Shoot Free Throws?

If a player is fouled in the act of shooting, he will receive free throws.

  • If he is attempting and misses a three point attempt, he receives three
  • If he is attempting and misses a two point attempt, he receives two
  • If he is fouled and still makes the shot, he receives credit for the basket and one additional free throw. This is known as a basket … and one!

If a player is fouled while not in the act of shooting:

If his team is not in the bonus, his team in-bounds the ball without shooting any foul shots. If the team is in the bonus, the player fouled receives two foul shots. Teams receive the bonus when either:

  1. The opposing team is charged with five or more team fouls in a quarter
  2. The opposing team has less than five team fouls but two or more in the final two minutes of any quarter.

The bonus does not carry over from quarter to quarter.

NBA Basketball Lane Violations

Players are required to stay behind the foul lines (out of the lane) until the ball has left the shooters hand. The shooter must wait until ball hits the rim before stepping over the foul line.

If the defensive team has a lane violation, and the shooter misses, he receives another attempt. If the shooter’s team has a lane violation, the attempt is invalidated and the ball given to the defensive team to in-bound.

Technical Fouls in NBA Basketball

Players and coaches can be assessed technical fouls for inappropriate conduct such as cursing, taunting, excessive complaining, or physical contact with a referee. Teams can also receive a technical foul for rules violations including a three-second violation.

Technical fouls result in the opposing team receiving one free throw, and then receiving the ball out of bounds. Since the shooter’s team will receive the ball no matter the result of the shot, players do not line up along the lane as in a typical free throw. The team’s coach determines which player will shoot the technical, from the players on the court at time the foul was called.

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