Glossary of Basketball Terms - A-L
Assist: a pass to a teammate that leads directly to a field goal.
Backboard: the rectangular structure to which the basket is attached.
Backcourt: the area from the midcourt line to the end line furthest from the offense´s basket.
Bank shot: a shot where the ball is bounced (or banked) off the backboard and then drops into the basket
Basket: consists of a metal rim with a corded net hanging off of it; attached to the backboard
Blocked shot: deflection of a shot by touching part of the ball on its way to the basket
Blocking: the use of a defender´s body position to prevent an opponent´s advance
Boxing out: a player´s attempt to position his body between his opponents and the basket to get rebounds and prevent the opponents from doing so.
Charging: when an offensive player runs into a defender who has established position; this is an offensive foul
Court: the area in on which a basketball game is played; bounded by 2 sidelines and 2 end lines, containing a basket at each end
Crossover dribble: dribbling the ball across the body from one hand to the other.
Cylinder: the imaginary area directly above the basket where goaltending or basket interference can occur
Dead ball: any ball that is not live; occurs after: each successful field goal or free-throw attempt, after the whistle is blown, or if the ball leaves the court
Defense: preventing the offense from scoring; " The Defense" is considered the team without the ball
Defensive rebound: a rebound by a player on defense
Double team: two teammates guarding a single opponent
Dribble or dribbling: repeatedly batting or bouncing the ball toward the floor with one hand; used to advance the ball
Drive to the basket: to move rapidly toward the basket with the ball
Dunk: when a player close to the basket jumps and slams throws the ball down into it
Elbowing: throwing your elbow(s) during play in order to hit another player or push him away; it is a foul if contact is made
End line: the line behind each basket; also called the baseline.
Fast break: it begins with a defensive rebound by a player who immediately sends a pass toward midcourt to his waiting teammates; these teammates can sprint to their basket and quickly shoot before enough opponents catch up to stop them
Flagrant foul: unnecessary or excessive contact against an opponent
Floor: the area of the court within the end lines and sidelines
Foul: actions by players which break the rules but are not floor violations
Foul line: the line 15´ from the backboard and parallel to the end line from which players shoot free-throws
Free-throw: an unguarded shot taken from the foul line by a player whose opponent committed a foul; worth 1 point
Free-throw line: see foul line
Full-court press: when defenders guard the offense in the backcourt
Guarding: following an opponent around the court to prevent him from getting the ball, taking a shot or making a pass
Jump ball: where 2 opposing players jump for a ball the official tosses above and between them. The players then try to tap the ball to their teammates to gain possession
Live ball: as soon as a ball is given to a free-throw shooter or a thrower on a throw-in, it is live
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