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Tough calls: playoffs 2024, volume 2




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. Blue team was in offense, Blue 89 received a pass and made a shot. Defender White 1 stepped under the shooter. Referees called act of shooting foul by White 1.

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.

  • Ends when the ball has left the player’s hand(s), or if an entirely new act of shooting is made and, in case of an airborne shooter, both feet have returned to the floor.

FIBA OBRI 34.2.2. If the foul is committed on a player in the act of shooting, that player shall be awarded a number of free throws as follows:

  • If the shot released from the 3-point field goal area is unsuccessful, 3 free throws.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. Blue 89 released unsuccessful shot when White 1 was stepping under Blue 89, before he landed with both feet on the floor, which is act of shooting landing personal foul.




2. Blue 1 was with ball and set a handoff screen to prevent defender White 1 from moving, when making a pass to his teammate Blue 25. In a moment of pass, contact between White 1 and Blue 1 happened, White 1 fell down. Referees called a personal offensive foul by Blue 1.


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.

  •  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.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. Blue 1 set a moving screen and didn’t respect the elements of time and distance. Blue 1 is penalized by personal offensive foul.




3. White 11 drove to the basket and made a shot. Simultaneously when White 11 was releasing the shot, game clock sounded, announcing the end of the quarter. Shot was successful. Referees counted a basket and used IRS to check if shot was on time or not.


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.

  • Ends when the ball has left the player’s hand(s), or if an entirely new act of shooting is made and, in case of an airborne shooter, both feet have returned to the floor.

FIBA OBRI F.3. Instant Replay System:

The following game situations may be reviewed:

  FIBA OBRI F.3.1. At the end of the quarter or overtime,

  • whether a shot for a successful field goal was released before the game clock signal sounded for the end of the quarter or overtime.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. White 11 released successful shot before the game signal sounded. After IRS review, referees stayed with an initial decision - red led lights on backboard was after the shot was released and before the game clock signal sounded.




4. White 2 drove to the basket and made a shot. Before releasing the ball, contact with defender Blue 4 happened. Both players felt on the court. Referees called defensive act of shooting foul by Blue 4 and awarded White 2 with two free throws.


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 33.4. When judging a charge/block situation involving a player with the ball, a referee shall use the following principles:

  • The defensive player must establish an initial legal guarding position by facing the player with the ball and having both feet on the floor.

  • The defensive player may remain stationary, jump vertically, move laterally or backwards in order to maintain the initial legal guarding position.

  • When moving to maintain the initial legal guarding position, one foot or both feet may be off the floor for an instant, as long as the movement is lateral or backwards, but not towards the player with the ball.

  • Contact must occur on the torso, in which case the defensive player would be considered as having been at the place of contact first.

  • Having established a legal guarding position, the defensive player may turn within his cylinder to avoid injury.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. Even Blue 4 established an initial legal guarding position by facing the player with the ball and having both feet on the floor, before the contact he moved forward and contact occurred by shoulder. Defensive blocking act of shooting foul by Blue 4.




5. White 5 received a pass and made a shot. Defender Blue 32 stepped under the shooter. Referees called act of shooting foul by Blue 32.


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.

  • Ends when the ball has left the player’s hand(s), or if an entirely new act of shooting is made and, in case of an airborne shooter, both feet have returned to the floor.

FIBA OBRI 34.2.2. If the foul is committed on a player in the act of shooting, that player shall be awarded a number of free throws as follows:

  • If the shot released from the 3-point field goal area is unsuccessful, 3 free throws. Outcome: correct decision from the referees. White 5 released unsuccessful shot when Blue 32 was stepping under White 5. Contact happened before White 5 landed with both feet on the floor, which is act of shooting landing personal foul.



6. Quarterfinal game, when the winner will be determined by the sum of the two games, and it was a second game. First game White team (Newcastle) lost by 5 points. End of the game, White team stole a ball and run to offense, White 11 received a pass and made a shot. Defender Black 12 stepped in a shooter’s cylinder, made a contact with hands, when White 11 already started act of shooting. Referees called act of shooting foul by Black 12.


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.

  • Ends when the ball has left the player’s hand(s), or if an entirely new act of shooting is made and, in case of an airborne shooter, both feet have returned to the floor.

FIBA OBRI 33.1. Cylinder principle.

The defensive player may not enter the cylinder of the offensive player with the ball and cause an illegal contact when the offensive player is attempting a normal basketball play within his cylinder. The boundaries of the cylinder of the offensive player with the ball are:

  • The front by the feet, bent knees and arms, holding the ball above the hips,

  • The rear by the buttocks, and

  • The sides by the outer edge of elbows and legs.

FIBA OBRI 34.2.2. If the foul is committed on a player in the act of shooting, that player shall be awarded a number of free throws as follows:

  • If the shot released from the 3-point field goal area is unsuccessful, 3 free throws.


Outcome: correct decision from the referees. Before White 11 started act of shooting, Black 12 moved in a shooter’s cylinder, and during the moment of shot, made a contact with shooter’s hands and knees. Referees called personal act of shooting foul by Black 12, and awarded White 11 with three free throws.





Author: Oskars Lucis, ENBL Head of referees

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