Get to Know the Game: Five Basketball Phrases You Need to Know


By Nick Browne


If you’ve never watched an NBA game before, you may find yourself hearing plenty of words or phrases that leave you scratching your head and asking what the heck they’re talking about. Well, you’re in luck! I’m here to help you understand some of the games phrases and lingo.

Field Goal

A field goal is any made basket that is not a foul shot. Very simple. If the ball goes in the basket during live play, it’s a field goal.

Fast Break

The fast break is when the team with the ball moves the ball up the court as quickly as possible, usually outrunning the defense to the basket. This allows them to get an easy, often uncontested shot.

Buzzer Beater

A buzzer beater is when a player takes and makes a shot as the clock is running out. The ball goes in just before the buzzer signals the end of a quarter/half/game.


This is one of the most fun and most electrifying plays of any basketball game. It takes place when the ball is passed near or above the hoop—and another player either dunks or lays in the ball after catching it in mid-air.


There are two keys on a basketball court—one on either end. These are the rectangular painted areas between the end line and the free-throw line.


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