Dates: Saturday 28th July - Sunday 12th August
Competing Athletes: 288 (144 men, 144 women, 12 teams in each event).
Medal Events: 2
Basketball is played by two teams of five players on an indoor court that is 28 metres long and 15m wide. Points are scored by shooting the ball into your opponents’ net (or 'basket'), which has a diameter of 450-459mm and sits on a backboard 3.05m above the floor.
Two points are awarded for a regular shot from open play, with one point for each successful free throw (following an opposition infringement) and three points for a shot from distance (beyond what’s known as the three-point line, 6.75m from the basket). Games last for 40 minutes, split into four 10-minute quarters.
At London 2012, both the men’s and women’s Basketball competitions will begin with a preliminary stage: the 12 teams will be divided into two groups of six, and each team will play every other team in their group. The best eight teams during the preliminaries will qualify for the knockout stage, with the winners of the semi-finals going head-to-head in the gold medal game.
- Assist: A pass that leads directly to a basket scored by a teammate.
- Downtown: The area outside the three-point line
- Dunk: A one- or two-handed slam directly into the net.
- Lay-up: A one-handed shot from close range off the backboard.
- Shot clock: A timer measuring the length of time since the last shot. If the ball doesn’t touch the rim or pass through the net within 24 seconds, possession passes to the opposition.
USA vs China at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, an early prelimanary match.