Don't Just Watch the Ball
Just like when you watch a hockey game, you don't always watch the puck, in basketball there are a lot of interesting things to see away from the basketball.
Keep Your Eyes on the Stars
One of the best things about watching basketball is that you get a full dose of each team's top players. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon for basketball players to be on the floor for most of the game!
How Is Your Favourite Player Getting Open?
Although NBA players can make it look easy, getting open to take an uncontested shot is hard work. Keep your eye on each team's top scorer and note how he uses a variety of techniques (screens, post moves, motion) to get open.
It Ain't Over Till It's Over
Watch Antonio Davis' action in the key.
The lead in a basketball game changes many times over the course of the game and sometimes can get pretty large, but the game is never over. Just ask the 1994 Houston Rockets, who led the Phoenix Suns by 18 points at the end of the third quarter in a regular season game, only to go on to lose in overtime. (This was the biggest regular season comeback in league history.)
Watch the Action in the Key
Who says basketball is a non-contact sport? Don't just keep your eye on the ball - there's a lot of action going on away from the ball, especially in the key (the coloured area under the basket). This is where the tough points are scored and championships are won!
Which Team is Taking the Best Shots?
As scoring is the main objective of the game, look at which team is taking the most high-percentage shots (usually shots closer to the basket). Rebounding is very important as the team that shoots, misses, and gets the rebound will have more chances to score.
Who's the Unsung Hero?
Each night in the NBA, a different player can step up and grab the spotlight. Every team has players who have the ability to win a game on their own and they're not necessarily the big stars. Who's it going to be tonight?
Who Takes the Shots in the Clutch?
As the game winds down and the score gets close, who do you think will be the hero? Some have made their mark as "clutch" players by sinking historic, game-winning shots. Try to notice which player has the hot hand during this particular game - that could be your last-second hero.
Watch the Magicians with the Basketball
NBA players often look like they have the basketball on a string, since they can switch hands or switch directions without even looking at the ball. Watch how quickly point guards dribble the ball upcourt with their heads up, eyes scanning the floor for an open teammate. Players like this can dribble the ball between their legs and behind their back without ever losing control. And watch for them to whiz a quick pass to a teammate without even looking in his direction.
For More Entertainment . . . Check the Sideline
Since they are unable to run out on the court and play, most coaches have a lot of pent-up energy to expend when they are on the sidelines. It can be a lot of fun to watch the facial expressions of coaches while play is going on, and to watch the coaches gesturing to their players (and referees) on how they would like the game to be played. Most coaches consider themselves teachers, and they never stop trying to get their point across.
Possession Changes Quickly
One characteristic of basketball that makes it a fun sport to watch on TV is players are required to switch quickly from offence to defence and back. The nonstop pace requires players to be in top condition. It is marvellous to watch how gracefully these athletes, many of them close to seven feet tall, make the transition automatically from an offensive position to a defensive posture.