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Tough calls: February 2024




The Tough Calls are sponsored by Fiziocentrs – a well known physiotherapy clinic in Latvia. The videos shown below will help to understand the game, referees and rules.


  1. In the post play between White 2 and Green 41, offensive player White 2 is using his arms to create more spaces for himself, he gets in the contact with defender, who fells to the court. Referees call offensive foul for White 2.


FIBA OBRI 33.1. The offensive player with the ball must be allowed enough space for a normal basketball play within his cylinder. The normal basketball play includes starting a dribble, pivoting, shooting and passing.


The offensive player cannot spread his legs or arms outside of his cylinder and cause an illegal contact with the defensive player in order to gain an additional space.


FIBA OBRI 33.2. The offensive player, whether on the floor or airborne, shall not cause contact with the defensive player in a legal guarding position by:

-Using his arms to create more space for himself (pushing off)


FIBA OBRI 33.12. It is a foul by an offensive or defensive player in the post position to shoulder or hip his opponent out of position or to interfere with his opponent’s freedom of movement using extended arms, shoulders, hips, legs or other parts of the body. 


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. White 2 spread his arms outside of his cylinder and caused an illegal contact with Green 41. White 2 is penalized by personal offensive foul.




2. White 14 with the ball sets a handoff screen to prevent defender Black 12 from moving, and made a pass to his teammate White 23. In the moment of the pass, contact between Black 12 and White 14 happens, Black 12 fell down. Referees call a personal offensive foul for the White 14.


FIBA OBRI 33.1.  The offensive player cannot spread his legs or arms outside of his cylinder and cause an illegal contact with the defensive player in order to gain an additional space.


FIBA OBRI 33.7. Illegal screening is when the player who is screening an opponent:

  • Was moving when contact occurred.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. White 14 set screen out (handoff) of his cylinder to prevent Black 12 from the defensive position. White 14 is penalized by personal offensive foul.




3. Black team was on offence, when Black 13 got a pass, without the dribble started act of shooting, when he was fouled by White 12. Referees called a personal foul for White 12 and awarded two free throw shots because White team was in team foul bonus.


FIBA OBRI 15.1.2. The act of shooting on a shot:

Begins when the player starts, in the judgement of a referee, to move the ball upwards towards the opponents’ basket.


FIBA OBRI 15.1.3. The act of shooting in a continuous movement on drives to the basket or other moving shots:

Begins when the ball has come to rest in the player’s hand(s), upon completion of a dribble or a catch in the air and the player starts, in the judgment of the referee, the shooting motion preceding the release of the ball for a field goal.


FIBA OBRI 33.9. Blocking is illegal personal contact which impedes the progress of an opponent with or without the ball.


Outcome: incorrect decision from the referees. When Black 13 was fouled by White 12, ball was in both his hands and act of shooting started. Two free throws should have been awarded for Black 13 even without White team being in the team foul bonus.




4. White 19 set a screen and blocked defender Black 21. Referees call a foul for Black 14, who pushed White 19 before the screen.


FIBA OBRI 33.7. Illegal screening is when the player who is screening an opponent:

  • Was moving when contact occurred.

  • Did not give sufficient distance in setting a screen outside the field of vision of a

stationary opponent when contact occurred.

  • Did not respect the elements of time and distance of an opponent in motion when

contact occurred. 


FIBA OBRI 33.15. Pushing is illegal personal contact with any part of the body where a player forcibly moves or attempts to move an opponent with or without the ball.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. Before White 19 set a screen, he was pushed by Black 14. Black 14 is penalized by personal defensive foul.




5. In post play between White 25 and Black 55, offensive player White 25 is using his arms to create more space for himself, when defender receives the contact, he fell on the floor. Referees called offensive foul for White 25.


FIBA OBRI 33.1. The offensive player with the ball must be allowed enough space for a normal basketball play within his cylinder. The normal basketball play includes starting a dribble, pivoting, shooting and passing.


        The offensive player cannot spread his legs or arms outside of his cylinder and cause an illegal contact with the defensive player in order to gain an additional space.


FIBA OBRI 33.2. The offensive player, whether on the floor or airborne, shall not cause contact with the defensive player in a legal guarding position by:

-Using his arms to create more space for himself (pushing off)


FIBA OBRI 33.12. It is a foul by an offensive or defensive player in the post position to shoulder or hip his opponent out of position or to interfere with his opponent’s freedom of movement using extended arms, shoulders, hips, legs or other parts of the body. 


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. White 25 spread his shoulder outside of his cylinder and caused an illegal contact with Black 55. White 25 is penalized by personal offensive foul.




Author: Oskars Lucis, ENBL Head of referees

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