When Are Baskets Worth 3 Points In Basketball?


It might come to you as a surprise to know that in basketball the three-point shot is not the only basket worth 3 points, in fact, there are several ways a player can score 3 points.

When are baskets worth 3 points? In Basketball not only is a 3 point shot worth 3 points but it might come to a realization that there are other shots worth 3 points. The and one is also worth a potential 3 points with a made basket from inside the three-point line and a chance to make a free throw with the clock stopped.

There are a couple of other ways that a basket can be worth a potential 3 points. These ways of making 3 points are very common and happen quite often during a basketball game.

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Baskets That Are Worth 3 Points

Besides the obvious shot from behind the arc, we can take a look at other ways that 3 point shots can happen. Many of these rules you know but may not realize that they can be worth a total of 3 points.

I would like to point out that possession does not change even when the clock stops until the ball switches hands to the opposition.



A basket that is shot from behind the three-point line and is goaltended by the defense counts as three points, the ball doesn’t even need to go in the hoop.

Whats is a goaltend? Basically it is when a player disturbs the hoop or basket by touching, grabbing it and or disrupting the ball on the way down this is a goaltend.


The NBA Rule Book on Goaltending according to the NBA

RULE NO. 11: Basket Interference – Goaltending

Section I—A Player Shall Not:

  1. Touch the ball or the basket ring when the ball is sitting or rolling on the ring and using the basket ring as its lower base or hang on the rim while the ball is passing through.

    1. EXCEPTION: If a player near his own basket has his hand legally in contact with the ball, it is not a violation if his contact with the ball continues after the ball enters the cylinder, or if, in such action, he touches the basket.

  2. Touch any ball from within the playing area when it is above the basket ring and within the imaginary cylinder.

  3. During a field goal attempt, touch a ball, which has a chance to score, after it has touched any part of the backboard above ring level, whether the ball is considered on its upward or downward flight.

  4. During a field goal attempt, touch a ball, which has a chance to score, after it has touched the backboard below the ring level and while the ball is on its upward flight.

  5. Trap the ball against the face of the backboard after it has been (To be a trapped ball, three elements must exist simultaneously. The hand, the ball and the backboard must all occur at the same time. A batted ball against the backboard is not a trapped ball.)

  6. Touch any ball from within the playing area that is on its downward flight with an opportunity to This is considered to be a “field goal attempt” or trying for a goal.

  7. Touch the ball at any time with a hand which is through the basket ring.

  8. Vibrate the rim, net or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce, or bend or move the rim to an off-center position when the ball is touching the ring or passing through.

  9. Touch the rim, net or ball while the ball is in the net, preventing it from clearing the basket.

    1. PENALTY: If the violation is at the opponent’s basket, the offended team is awarded two points, if the attempt is from the two point zone and three points if it is from the three-point zone. The crediting of the score and subsequent procedure is the same as if the awarded score has resulted from the ball having gone through the basket, except that the official shall hand the ball to a player of the team entitled to the throw-in. If the violation is at a team’s own basket, no points can be scored and the ball is awarded to the offended team at the free throw line extended on either sideline. If there is a violation by both teams, no points can be scored, play shall be resumed by a jump ball between any two opponents in the game at the center circle.


Keep in mind FIBA rules are different than the NBA rule book, as you are allowed to knock the ball out of the rim in FIBA rules as soon as the ball touches the rim. The NBA has thought about implementing this rule but has not done so yet.


And One

What is an and one? An And One is when a player is fouled while shooting and makes the shot in the process of the ref blowing the whistle. The player then goes to the free-throw line to shoot one free-throw to complete the three-point play. This is still the same possession as the clock has stopped.



If you are sent to the free-throw line after being fouled while shooting within the 3 point line, ou will shoot 2 free throws. If you make the first free throw and miss the second you still have the opportunity to rebound the missed shot and score a basket, this is the same possession with the initial made free throw and now the made basket that will give you 3 points for that possession.


3 Point Foul

If you happen to draw a foul at the three-point line you have the opportunity to shoot 3 free throws.

Quick Tip: Did you know that it wasn’t until 1994 that the NBA started to implement three free throws if you were fouled at the three-point line.


Technical Foul

If a team is awarded a technical foul shot, they are shooting one foul shot plus they get the ball back. In this case if they make a basket this will be three-points for this possession.


When Are Baskets Worth 4 Or 5 Points?

So I won’t list in detail and repeat what I just discussed but I will show in a quick easy chart where we can see all the ways for 4 and 5 points baskets are made. Obviously there are no 4 or 5 point shots in the NBA but if we talk in possession it makes sense.




3 points


  • Made 3 Point Basket.
  • 2 point field goal made + And one.
  • Goaltending 3 pointer attempts.
  • Make then miss a free throw then rebound and make 2 point field goal.
  • Fouled at 3 point line.
4 Points
  • Foul during a made 3 pointer and then made foul shot (And 1).
  • Technical foul shot and 3 point made basket.
  • Fouled at 3 point line make first 2 free throws, rebound miss and make 2 point basket.
  • Double Technical fouls 4 free-throws.
5 Points
  • Fouled at three-point line plus basket made, rebound missed free-throw and make 2 point basket.
  • Technical fouls plus a made 3 point basket etc.


In conclusion, there are a number of ways that 3 points or more can be made in a single shot and during a single possession. This matters as it can change a game and the momentum. Swings in basketball happen all the time, your team is on fire for the first half of basketball while in the second half you can’t figure out how to score while your lead is shrinking and is tied in the 4th quarter.


Further Readings:

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