Scoring System of Basketball

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers

In the game of basketball, the main stats are points, rebounds, assists, steals and turnovers. A basket scored can count as one, two or three point field goals, depending on your shooting location.

According to the rules of basketball and its scoring system, a free throw remains the only way to score outside of game play, as it occurs after a whistle. Basketball rules also determine shooting fouls, which calls for an uncontested free throw worth one point because a player was fouled in the act of shooting.

The dimensions of a high school, college, NBA and women’s basketball court determine where a jump shot must originate for it to be ruled a three-pointer.

North Carolina State v Maryland

How to Score

With all basketball scoring, the ball must pass through the hoop from above. The shot must originate from somewhere on the playing area, whether it is a layup, dunk or jump shot. If the ball does not pass completely through the basket, no points are counted.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

Free Throws

Each free throw made counts as one point. The free-throw line is located 15 feet from the backboard in the center of the floor. For a basketball player to receive a free throw, the opposing team will have to commit a foul on them as they shoot, or commit more than five team fouls over the course of one quarter.

If you are fouled as you sink a basket during game play, you will receive one bonus “and one” free throw. If you miss the shot, you will receive two or three free throws, depending on the location that the potential scorer launched the shot.

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers

Two-Point Shots

Any basket from a shot taken from inside the three-point line during game play counts for two points. The three-point line is located 23 feet 9 inches from the center of the backboard. If a player steps on the three-point line before releasing the ball, the shot will count for only two points.

Three-Point Shots

Any basket from a shot taken from outside the three-point line counts for three points. The shooting player can step on or cross the three-point line after releasing the ball; the shot will still count for three points. The shooter must have at least one foot on the floor outside of the line before taking the shot.

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers

Scoring Records

A National Basketball Association game can take a variety of different forms. The highest-scoring game on record was a 186-to-184 victory for Detroit over Denver in 1983; the lowest-scoring game was a 62-to-57 victory for Boston over Milwaukee in 1955. Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most points scored in a season, 4,029, and in a game, 100. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar previously held the all-time career points record with 38,387, but LeBron James passed that mark in the 2022-23 season.