Consider a scenario where team A is ahead of team B with a score of 101-100 with ball possession and 15 seconds remaining in the game. Now team B can commit fouls intentionally to come back into the game. In this case the team being fouled (team A) is at a disadvantage.


The first thing to note here is that this is almost exclusively an NBA only issue; FIBA rules have always penalised away from the ball fouls as unsportsmanlike fouls giving two free throws and possession; quoting from Article 37, Unsportsmanlike foul:

37.1.1 An unsportsmanlike foul is a player contact foul which, in the judgement of an official is:

  • Not a legitimate attempt to directly play the ball within the spirit and intent of the rules.


Free throw(s) shall be awarded to the player who was fouled, followed by:

  • A throw-in at the centre line extended, opposite the scorer’s table.

The NBA has moved more in this direction in the past few years; as of the 2016-17 season, away from the ball fouls in the last two minutes of any period or overtime give one free throw plus possession - this effectively acts as an "advantage" rule as it gives both points and (almost certainly) the ball to the fouled team, removing any disadvantage.

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