Were you ever watching a Celtics game and wondered what the announcers were talking about? Basketball has it’s own “language,” which can sometimes be confusing. Below is a list of common terms that will help you get more familiar with the game.
Any pass that leads directly to a basket by a
The half of the court that
includes the basket a team is defending.
Refers to dribbling, passing,
or receiving the ball.
The end line running from sideline
A technique used to gain and
maintain position between the basket and the opponent in order
to rebound the ball.
A pass that strikes the floor
once before reaching the receiver.
A personal foul in which an offensive
player illegally runs into an opponent who is stationary,
having established position.
A two-handed pass initiated from
in front of the chest toward a receiver.
A low dribble used when the
dribbler is closely guarded. The ball is protected by the
dribbler's body, which is between the defensive player and the
Refers to the team without the ball,
whose objective is to keep the opposition from scoring.
Gaining possession of an
opponent's unsuccessful shot attempt.
A violation in which a player
dribbles the ball with two hands simultaneously, or continues
to dribble after allowing the ball to come to rest in one or
The act of bouncing the ball.
A quick, accelerated movement executed
by an offensive player toward the basket by means of a
A technique designed to cause an
opponent to move in a particular direction, or to temporarily
An offensive strategy in which a
team attempts to bring the ball into scoring position before
the defense can set up.
The act of finishing one's
shooting motion after the release of the ball.
An unobstructed shot from behind
the foul shot line, awarded as a result of a foul by an
opponent and valued at one point if scored. Also called a free
An infraction or infringement of the
rules involving contact, which may result in the awarding of
free throws or possession of the ball.
The half of the playing court
that contains a team's offensive basket.
GIVE AND GO
A play in which the ball-handler passes to a
teammate, then breaks to the basket to receive a return pass.
One of the two halves of the court
on either side of the centre line.
The rest period between the two
halves of the game.
A method of putting the ball into
play by tossing it into the air between two opponents who jump
and attempt to tap the ball to a teammate outside the circle.
A shot in which the ball is
released near or at the peak of the jump.
The area bounded by the free throw line,
end line, and sides of the free throw area. Also called free
A shot made from close to the basket off the dribble.
Refers to the team with the ball that
is trying to score.
OFFENSIVE READY POSITION
Balanced position by
a player ready to receive the ball or initiate movement in any
A ball thrown from one player to a
The foot on which the player
pivots, and which must remain in contact with the floor in one
place while the player pivots without dribbling.
A missed shot that caroms off the rim
or the backboard.
The act of projecting the ball
toward the basket in an attempt to score.
This dribble is used when a
player is running near top speed in an uncongested area with
little defensive pressure (i.e. fast break).
A violation in which the player
with the ball lifts or drags the pivot foot without dribbling.
Exercises before a game and during
half time to prepare players for action.