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Basketball Inbound Rules

Basketball Inbound Rules
Basketball player preparing to inbound ball. Photo Credit: malyugin/iStock/Getty Images

With so much movement, it's not unusual for a basketball to soar out of bounds. When that happens, or after a made basket, the offensive team has to throw the ball back in to resume game play. The game has several rules to make that play fair for both sides.

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Inbounding the Ball

An offensive player can inbound the ball to a teammate as he steps over the out-of-bounds line. The in-bounder can jump, move his feet, and even back up as long as he stays in a 3-foot wide spot on either side of him. It's a turnover if he moves out of that space. The in-bounder is free to run along the baseline if the other team just scored. That's most likely to happen when the defensive team is pressing at the end of a close game.

Five Seconds

Once the referee hands the in-bounder the basketball, that player has five seconds to throw the ball into play. If the ball is being put back in play due to a violation, the game clock won't start until the ball is touched by a player on the floor. The five-second count is still on, and it's a turnover if the player doesn't beat the count.

Defensive Rules

The defensive player can't reach across the out-of-bounds line to touch the ball or interfere with the in-bounding player. The player gets a warning the first time, and a technical foul the second time.

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