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Basketball Rules

Updated 2006-10-29 12:30


General rules of professional Basketball. They are meant more to be succinct and practical, at the expence of precision and completeness.

Time periods

Question Answer
game divisions4 quarters (12 minutes each)
halftime lasts...15 minutes
other breaks last...2 minutes
overtime periods last...5 minutes
the clock is stopped when...the ball is not in play
games typically last...2 hours

Players and points

Question Answer
players on court5 for each team
points for shots- 2 pts for normal shots - 3 pts if behind the 3 pt line - 1 pt for free throws
the 3 pt line is...23 ft 9 in away (from the basket)
the free-throw line is...15 ft away (from the basket)
substitutes teams can have7 substitutes
circumference of men's ballabout 30 inches


Question Answer
player is booted after...6 fouls
foul for unsportsmanlike non-contact behaviortechnical foul
foul for illegal personal contactpersonal foul
fouls with excessive physical contactflagrant foul


Question Answer
point guard- controls ball - makes sure it gets to right player
shooting guard- offense: high volume of shots - defense: guards the opponent's best perimeter player
small forward- offense: scores by cutting to the basket and dribble penetration - defense: rebounds and steals
power forward- offense: often has back to the basket - defense: stays under the basket (in a zone defense)
centeruses size to score or protect the basket closely


Question Answer
two guard offense- most common offense - 2 guards, 1 center, 2 forwards
three guard offense3 guards and 2 forwards (or 1 center and 1 forward)
man-to-man defenseplayers each stick with one opposing player
zone defenseplayers stay in specific areas
offensive player stays still, to serve as an obstaclepick (or screen)
player or court that usually indicates a playpoint guard

See also