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The game of basketball is one that almost any age can play and still have a good time doing it. Men, women, children, and maybe even pets can get involved in the exciting game of basketball. This game, invented by James Naismith, has been around for centuries. The game consists of a basketball, two basketball hoops, and a hardwood or outside court. Basketball can be played with organized referees or it can be played by the name of street ball, which is outside with no organized rules.

Some basketball terms that one should be familiar with are as follows. An assist is a pass by an offensive player that leads directly to a basket. A backcourt is a violation when the offensive crosses the mid-line and crosses back over it. A blocked shot occurs when a defensive player legally hits a shot with an arm or hand before the ball reaches the goal. Goaltending occurs when an offensive player shoots the ball and a defensive player deflects the ball when it is within a designated imaginary sphere on top of the goal. This results in two points for the shooting team. A lay up is a shot taken close to the basket. A rebound is a ball that bounces back off the backboard or rim after a shot has been missed. A tip in is a field goal is made by tipping the ball into the basket, usually with the fingers of one hand.

The game of basketball consists of four quarters each lasting for a time of 12 minutes. The game is started with a tip off between the two teams. Each team has five players on the court at one time. They usually have at least 5 more players on the bench for substitutions.

A team can score by shooting the ball in to the hoop. You receive two points for every shot made from inside the three-point line. If you make a shot from beyond the three-point line then you are awarded three points. The only time a shot is worth a single point is when you are fouled and you take free throws. Each free throw is worth one point.

There are many different fouls and violations that are called during an average basketball game. There are personal fouls for pushing, holding or charging an opponent. A player who is fouled in the act of shooting takes two free throws. If the shot was made and you were fouled then you only get to shoot one free throw. A violation is when a player commits any type of mistake that results in the loss of a possession. An example of a violation is when one travels with the ball. This is when the player fails to dribble the ball properly on the court. Another violation is known as carrying the ball; this is when the player trying to dribble holds the ball and fails to dribble in a complete motion. If a player commits six fouls then he or she must leave the game. If a player gets angry at a call and happens to yell at the ref then the ref may give him or her a technical foul. A technical foul results in two automatic free throw attempts and the ball. If a player gets two technical fouls than he or she is ejected from the game.

Once the time runs out in the game the team with the most points wins the game. If the teams are tied than the game is pushed into an overtime five-minute situation.

Offensive strategy is quite complicated and gets more in depth as you reach the professional level. A successful strategy is known as the pass and pick away strategy. This enables a player on the court to get an open shot. You first pass and then run opposite the ball and set a screen or a barrier for the defensive player to run into. This will allow your team to get a nice open look at the basket. A fast break is another well known offensive strategy. Quickly after the offensive team gains possession of the ball the team tries to score quickly down the length of the court. Another strategy is the delay tactic. This is done if you are in the lead and you are trying to kill some of the time to hold on to a victory. This does not always work because there is a 24 second shot clock in order to prevent this strategy.

There are two types of defensive strategies, the zone and the man-to-man. In the zone defense each player on the defensive team occupies a space on the court and tries to prevent that area from scoring. This is great of the team you are playing are poor shooters. A defense that guards a good shooting team is called the man-to-man defense. This defense requires each man to guard someone else on the opposing team. This will prevent the offensive team to get off easy shots.

Good luck in the next game of basketball you decide to play. Have fun and play by the rules!