The tremendous success of NBA and WNBA are testaments to the immense popularity of basketball in the US. But, it is fast catching up with other sports across the world, in terms of popularity. Basketball's rise can be attributed to its simplicity of rules and playing conditions. However, there are a few constraints on the dimensions of the court which need to be followed to ensure a fair game.
Labeled Basketball Court Diagram
It is well-known that basketball is a team sport. A match is played between two teams, each consisting of five players (on field). Their aim is to score by putting the ball into a netted basket, which is supported by a metal ring and is suspended 10 feet above the ground. In the diagram above, you can see that the game is played within a rectangular area called the court. This area is divided into two halves by the division line, one half belonging to each team.
If the offense gets the ball inside the defense's half, then within ten seconds the offense has to either score or get the ball on their side of the line to maintain possession. If they fail to do so, then opposition gets the ball, and then they become the offense. The offense can move the ball around the court or towards the basket only by passing it to teammates or by dribbling.
The defense, meanwhile, will try to steal possession, steal and deflect passes, contest shots on the target, and gather rebounds.
When a team scores a basket they earn two points, and the possession is given to the opposition. In case a basket is scored from outside the three-point line, then the scoring team earns three points. Free throws are granted to a team if any opposition player has committed a particular number of fouls (this number is different for various types of fouls).
If a foul is committed on a shooter, it always results in him getting two, or in severe cases, three free throws. It also depends upon the position where the foul has been committed. If it is beyond the three-point line, then three shots are awarded.
In other types of fouls, free throws may be awarded only when a certain number of fouls have accumulated during that half. In such cases, the player against whom the foul was committed is awarded with a 1-and-1 free shot opportunity, i.e., if he scores in the first free throw, he gets a second attempt as well. In case the first opportunity is missed, the ball goes live on the rebound.
The entire game is divided into two time periods, each being called a half. There is an interval of a few minutes between the two halves. The halves are also further divided into quarters. Time gaps between quarters is much shorter. At the end of regulation time, if the scores are tied, then extra time periods of various lengths are provided, until a clear winner emerges.
These were the most basic of the rules that govern the game of basketball. A thorough understanding of the above diagram, along with the said rules, can easily provide sound knowledge of the game.