Let's say a player gets fouled while shooting at the opponent's basket either intentionally or unintentionally (deflects it in or makes it accidentally passing it cross-court while bringing the ball up, or they are just confused after exchanging ends, etc.).

Is it a 2-shot foul if they miss? Or 3-shot if they are in 3-point range? Does the basket count for the other team if they make it while being fouled? Is it only one free throw if the shot at the wrong basket is made, like it is when you make a shot at your own basket?

1 Answer 1


A shooting foul can only occur when trying to shoot at the basket which will increase your own team's score.

Therefore, if you were somehow shooting at your own basket and got fouled, it would be the same as a normal non-shooting foul. You would not get free throws unless you were in the "bonus".

If you actually made the basket, I think it would be waved off because it is a foul on the team who the score would go to. So just as a basket does not count when an offensive player commits a charge (or other offensive foul), a "wrong-way" basket would not count when the defending team has committed a foul.

In fact, this is the most likely way that your scenario would occur. Player goes up for a rebound, is fouled and makes the ball accidentally go into the basket. Foul would be called with "no basket".

Here is the official definition of a "Field Goal Attempt" from the NBA (http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_4.html?nav=ArticleList):

A field goal attempt is a player's attempt to shoot the ball into his basket for a field goal.

Attempt to shoot the ball into "his basket" means the basket which would give his team points. Trying to shoot the ball into the other team's basket does not qualify under this definition and therefore does not count as a "field goal attempt".

Free throws are granted for fouls during a field goal attempt, so since "shooting at the wrong basket" is NOT a field goal attempt, no free throw would be given.

In another section of the same rules (http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_12.html?nav=ArticleList) it says:

A personal foul assessed against an offensive player which is neither an elbow, punching or flagrant foul shall be penalized in the following manner:
(1) No points can be scored by the offensive team

Which I take to mean that NO TEAM can score points on a play where they also commit a foul.

  • do you have a rules cite for that? If you're going to answer a technical rules question, you'll need to back it up with actual rules citations.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 20:32
  • fine, there is the citation.
    – ZeekLTK
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 21:44
  • Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't aware of the stipulation in the rulebook that says "A shooting foul can only occur when trying to shoot at the basket which will increase your own team's score." I know it is uncommon for players to intentionally shoot at the wrong basket (not unlike a football player running the wrong way to score a TD), but it does happen from time to time, most often I think after an opening tip of a game or overtime. Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 12:38
  • So if the defensive player in that case was also confused, and was trying to stop the shot, say even fouling the player with the ball while dunking the basketball into the wrong basket, the points would still be waved off? So in that case the foul itself ends the play? Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 12:38
  • @DonaldC.Richmond here is the full Rules page: nba.com/analysis/rules_index.html - if you look at Rule 5 (Scoring), Section 1 it actually says that: d. A field goal accidentally scored in an opponent's basket shall be added to the opponent's score, credited to the opposing player nearest the shooter and mentioned in a footnote. e. It is a violation for a player to attempt a field goal at an opponent's basket. The opposing team will be awarded the bal at the free throw line extended.
    – ZeekLTK
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 18:53

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