Basketball: the Object of the Game

Basketball is a fast paced game played on a 94-by-50 foot court (NBA) with 1 basket on opposite sides.

The game starts when the official tosses the ball between two players, one from each team, in the middle of the court. This is also referred to as the tip off. The other 8 players stand at specific places outside the mid-circle. The jumpers will try to tip the ball to any of their team members to gain the first possession.

The goal is to score more points than their opponents.

In the professional setting, the game is divided into 2 halfs or 4 quarters. Each quarter is 12 minutes long.

During each possession, the offensive team has a time limit to shoot the ball in the basket. This is called the shot clock. The NBA rule allows 24 seconds for each possession. In college basketball, the shot clock is set for 35 seconds.

There are basically 2 ways to shoot and score in a basketball game: shooting when the ball is in play and from the free throw line.

There are several ways to score during play. You can either take a perimeter shot or drive toward the basket. You can score 3 points if you shoot the ball beyond the arc. There are also variations for jump shots including from the baseline, the key, fade away, hook shot, and more. Variations of shots made inside the paint include dunk, layup, and tip-in.

Free throws are earned when the opposing team committs a technical foul or a personal foul. Two free throw shots are awarded when the opposing team committs a technical foul or a personal foul in the act of shooting or within the team penalty. One free throw shot is given to the player who made a shot and receives a foul in the process.

Each player is allowed to commit 5 personal fouls for each game to continue playing. The 6th foul will automatically force the player to retire for the rest of the game. Each player is automatically out of the game if he receives 2 technical fouls. The team is allowed to commits 5 fouls for each quarter before entering the penalty. Every foul made inside the penalty will put their opposing team to shoot free throws. 

In the event where the scores are tied at the end of the fourth quarter (or at the end of the regulation period), a 5-minute overtime period is played. If the score is still tied at the end of the overtime period, a second overtime will be played, and so on… until a team wins a game.

Note: other basketball leagues and basketball associations such as FIBA follow their own sets of rules.