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Basic Rules on Basketball

Basketball can be enjoyed in many forms, from simply shooting around a driveway or school-yard hoop, to playing games such as H-O-R-S-E and Around the World. However, to truly play the game, one must have an understanding of the basic rules governing the participating teams.

Number of Players
The National Basketball Association official rules state each team should have five players on the court at all times, along with five additional players on the bench who can be used for substitutions. However, basketball can be played for fun and in some competitions with teams made up of one, two, three or four players.

In professional basketball, the five players are broken up into three positions: the center, two guards and two forwards. Usually the tallest player plays center, the medium-size athletes play forward and smaller players play guard, although this is not always the case. In noncompetitive games, position isn't as important.

Common Violations
Violations occur when a player breaks a basketball rule, which often results in a turnover of the ball to the other team. The most common violations are the double-dribble, travel and over-and-back violation.
A double dribble occurs when a player either dribbles with both hands at once or when a player stops dribbling the ball and then starts again.
A travel is when a player takes more than 1-1/2 steps without dribbling the ball, or when a player changes her pivot foot.
An over-and-back violation is when a player dribbles the ball into the front court and then back into the back court.

Two points are scored if a player shoots the ball into the basket from inside the 3-point line. If a player makes a basket from outside 3-point line, three points are awarded.
It is also possible to score one point from the free throw line after a foul has been committed by the other team.

There are two types of fouls in basketball: offensive and defensive. Offensive fouls result in a turnover of the ball. Defensive fouls give the offensive team an opportunity to take one or two shots from the free throw line, depending on the situation.
An offensive foul often occurs when the player with the ball runs into a stationary defender. A defender is only considered stationary if he has both feet firmly planted on the floor.
A defensive foul can occur when a defender pushes, trips, hits or blocks the offensive player in possession of the ball.