In the NBA app, I was reading the statistics of the match Lakers vs Kings.

In particular, Lakers have 10 steals, Kings have 5 steals. Moreover, Lakers have 14 turnovers, while Kings have 16 turnovers.

I wondered, why the number of steals and the number of turnovers differ? Shouldn't every steal result in a turnover, and every turnover be the result of a steal?

2 Answers 2


A steal occurs when a defensive player legally takes possession of the ball from an opposing player during gameplay. A turnover is counted when a player with possession of the ball loses possession as the result of a violation or an opposing player.

In other words, a steal is made when a defender's aggressive action causes a turnover by either taking the ball away from the offensive player, intercepting a pass, or deflecting the ball away. Key: The steal is always credited to the defender who initially disrupted the ball.

So, who's fault is the steal/turnover? Did the defender take the initiative to take the ball? In that case, it is a steal. If the person dribbling makes a mistake (i.e passes and intercepted, travels, etc.) and that's how the opposing team gets the ball, then it's a turnover.


A steal by one team is always a turnover for the other team. A turnover by one team is NOT always a steal for the other team.

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