How Many Fouls Do You Get In The NBA?


The NBA is the only league with 48 minutes in a single game and more fouls allowed per game than any other league in the world.

How many fouls do you get in the NBA? The NBA allows a player 6 personal fouls before the player is fouled out and unable to return to the game, the player must leave the game to sit on the bench. These personal fouls also include flagrant, unsportsmanlike, and technical fouls.

All fouls are not the same an explanation of the different fouls will be examined and the strategy that goes with exposing players in foul trouble.

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Personal Fouls Vs Team Fouls

Personal fouls and team fouls are not the same, there are some differences between the two. What constitutes a team foul and a personal foul?


Personal Fouls

Personal fouls are handed out to players individually, the player is allowed up to 6 personal fouls. A foul is an act of illegal contact to the opposing player, that goes against the NBA rule book. For every personal foul received, it will be added to the team fouls.


Team Fouls

Personal fouls count as team fouls, every player on the court that receives a personal foul adds to the team foul. The coaches who receive technical fouls also add to their team fouls. In every quarter when a team reaches 5 fouls the opposing team will shoot free-throws. Each quarter the fouls reset for the team but not the personal fouls for the player.



Technicals, Flagrants & Unsportsmanlike Fouls

Not all fouls are equal and although you are allowed  6 fouls in an NBA game, the degree of the foul matters. To severe can cost you and get you kicked out of the game.

Technical Foul

If you receive one technical foul it counts towards your personal fouls and team fouls. Receiving Two technicals in a single game you are automatically kicked out of the game and must leave the court and may not spectate.

A Technical foul from a player is usually the result of a player fouling another player and not agreeing with the ref’s call. The foul is one personal foul, while the player gets a technical from the ref because he is angry, this will count as the second personal foul.

In total this is two personal fouls added to the total, if you happen to have 4 personal fouls before the above example took place, that would mean you would be fouled out of the game. If you had 3 fouls and the above example happened you would be in foul trouble with 5 fouls and more than likely depending on what quarter the game is in and how mad your coach is, you would be subbed off the court.


Flagrant Foul

A flagrant foul is classified in two ways, flagrant one and flagrant 2. Think of flagrant one as a hard foul and think of flagrant 2 as an intentional hard foul. This is the easiest way that I can describe it without going into a lot of detail of each.

All fouls are reviewed through video during the game by the referee to determine the outcome of the degree of flagrant. A player who receives a flagrant 1 stays in the game.

A player who receives a flagrant 2 will have to leave the game and may face a suspension which will involve a monetary fine and possibly suspension which will result in missed games. A flagrant 2 foul will not matter how many fouls you had prior.

Some of these fouls include hard fouls to the head and the groin. Fouls when the player is in the air attempting a basket, which results in a push that puts the player in the air off balance in a predicament to land safely.


Unsportsmanlike Fouls

Unsportsmanlike fouls are the fouls that a player makes on the player and not the ball. An example of this is the ballhandler who is setting up the offense has the ball stolen from him by the player that is guarding him. The player is able now in front of the ball trying to run down the court to score.

The player who just had the ball stolen from them grabs the player and makes no attempt on the ball. This is called an unsportsmanlike foul.

Sometimes a foul will result in two of these types of alls resulting in the other team shooting double the free-throws, while the player is removed from the game.


How Many Shots Do You Shoot Per Foul?

This will depend on if the player is on defense or offense, the type of foul by the player and how many team fouls a team may have.


Defensive Foul

While the player is on defense and fouls an offensive player attempting a shot, the shooter will shoot two free throws if the shot happens anywhere within the three-point line. If the foul happens outside the three-point line the player is awarded three free-throws.

If during the shot attempt the player was fouled and happen to make the shot in the process he is awarded one free-throw. The extra point attempt is for the field goal shot from either a two-pointer and three-pointer.


Offensive Foul

Offensive Fouls do not call for you to shoot any free throws even in bonus situations. If the player on offense commits a technical, flagrant or unsportsmanlike then they would shoot free-throws based on the severity of the foul.


Technical Foul

A technical foul results in two free throws and the ball for the opposing team.

Flagrant Foul

A flagrant foul is awarded two free throws and the ball to the opposing team.


A flagrant foul is awarded two free throws and the ball to the opposing team.


Strategy For Fouling

In the NBA when a player is in foul trouble they are subbed out of the game. This is so the player will not attain any more fouls if he were to remain on the court. Teams understand this and will try to exploit the player that is in foul trouble.

Being in foul trouble early results in the loss of minutes for the remainder of the game and puts the player out of rhythm as he is inactive. If a player is depended on for scoring this puts a big hit on the team’s offense. The other players on the team will need to step up and score.


When To Substitute Based Of Fouls Each Quarter

Quarter Fouls/Subbed Out Back Into The Game
1st 2 Midway 2nd Quarter
2nd 3 Beginning Of 3rd Quarter
3rd 4 Beginning Of 4th Quarter
4th 4-5 Within 5 Minutes of the 4th Quarter


As you can see by the chart we have the quarter, how many fouls in that quarter and when the next time the player can be subbed back into the game.

If we see a player with 5 fouls entering the 4th quarter it would be strategic to try and draws fouls on that player, an offensive foul is a great way to do so by taking a charge. On offense, we can go at the player when they are defending as they will not be as aggressive as they do not want to get that last foul.

Records For Fouls

  • The All-time records for most fouls in career is by Kareem Abdul Jabbar with 4657 personal fouls.
  • April 9, 1990, the Utah Jazz teamed up and manage to collect 52 team fouls in a single game, averages out to be 13 fouls a quarter.
  • Bubba Wells of the Dallas Mavericks is the quickest player to foul out of a game in 3 minutes. This happened in 1997, the idea was to foul Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls as he was shooting 40 percent from the free-throw line. it failed miserably as Rodman shot 9-12 from the free-throw line. Don Nelson at the time was the coach and he is known for creating the Hack-A- Shack strategy.
  • In a college basketball game in 2013 between Seton Hall and Niagara, both teams combined committed 73 Fouls, shooting a total of 102 Free-Throw Attempts in Single Game.


Hack-A-Shack Strategy

Don Nelson, coach of the Dallas Mavericks created this strategy that tried to capitalize on poor free-throw shooters. Shaquille O’Neal at the time was shooting 45 percent from the free-throw line, if Dallas was down a few baskets they would implement this strategy to foul Shaq away from the ball to get him on the free-throw line to shoot.

The advantage of this is clock management and possesions. The clock is stopped and you get more possessions if Shaq were to miss both free-throws.

The NBA has since changed the rule and any foul away from the ball is one free-throw and the ball. Possession of ball does not change.


This concludes the article if you enjoy these tips please look around the blog and check out my article down below.


How Many Personal Fouls Before Ejection In The NBA?


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