I'm just wondering about when specifically the shot clock gets reset, especially in cases where the shooter gets blocked (or packed, as known informally). Is all that matters that a shot was attempted? Or does the ball have to hit the rim/backboard?

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NBA Rule 7 governs the shot clock. 2d describes a legal shot that must occur within the clock period:

2d After gaining possession of the ball, a team must attempt a field goal before the shot clock expires. To constitute a legal field goal attempt, the following conditions must be complied with:

  1. The ball must leave the player’s hand prior to the expiration of the shot clock.

  2. After leaving the player’s hand(s), the ball must make contact with the basket ring.

A shot that is blocked or redirected by the defense such that it does not reach the basket rim does not reset the shot clock.

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