Basketball Games to Play With Two or Three People


If you're eager to return to the game of basketball but don't have enough players for a traditional basketball game, you have several alternatives that can hone your shooting and in some cases bolster your endurance. These fun basketball games can involve two or three people and don’t require much more than a basketball hoop, and can rekindle that spark you might have lost for enjoying shooting hoops.

Time Trial

Time Trial is a shooting game that tests your basketball skills from all over the basketball court and is intended for small groups.

  1. Set the countdown to one minute on a stopwatch
  2. When the timer says "go," one participant tries to score as many points as possible
  3. Just like in an actual game, a made shot like a layup or around the free throw line receives two points
  4. You also can record three points by shooting from behind the three-point line

Shooting the ball, letting it bounce a couple of times, and then retrieving it will take a lot of time, so a better technique is to shoot layups from just to the right or left of the net, grabbing the ball after you score and trying the next shot from the opposite side.

The object of the game is to score as many points as possible, so try to get the most number of shots as you can to have the best chance of winning.

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Around the World

Around the World, in which participants must make a series of shots from around the key, requires two or more basketball players, and tests the skill level of your shooting skills.

  1. After deciding who goes first, the first player starts at the mark on the edge of the key at one side of the basket
  2. If he makes that shot, he advances to the second shot, which is next mark on the key
  3. If he misses the first attempt of any shot, he gets a second chance. But if he misses that shot, too, he must return to the previous mark

After the player in the lead has moved around the key, he must make a shot from the center of the three-point line. If he misses twice, he must return to the previous mark, giving the rest of the players a chance to catch up and win.

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21 Basketball

21 is a great game for younger players, and works not just shooting skills, but dribble skills and defensive skills as well.

  1. In 21 Basketball, the first person will shoot a free throw for one point, and if he makes it, he will continue to shoot until he has made three consecutive points. Then the second player shoots
  2. If any player misses a free throw, the ball becomes "live" and all participants can try for the rebound. The player who grabs the rebound can then attempt a shot against the one or two opposing players.
  3. If that player makes his shot, he is the next person to go and shoot free throws, and the cycle repeats itself.

The player who reaches exactly 21 points wins. Various variations impose penalties for missing a shot with 20 points or require the first player to reach 21 to sink a free throw or a shot from the three-point line. All regular basketball rules, like going out of bounds or crossing over the half court line, apply to this game.



Once the shooting order has been established in Horse, the first player must verbally announce what shot he plans to take. If he makes the dunk, layup or jump shot, the next player has to make the same shot or he receives the letter "H."

The next time that shooter misses a shot that an opponent has called and made, he receives an "O." When a player has received all five letters in the word "horse," he is eliminated from the game. The competition continues until there is one last player standing- so essentially, you want the lowest score.

Another variation of this game is the same format except the word P-I-G.