What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball? 11 Detail Explanations

On defense in basketball, it’s normal to foul out. Intentionally getting called for a foul is a common way to stop a layup or stop a steal when the other team is dribbling the ball.

But in basketball games, there is a bonus system that penalizes a team after they have made a lot of team fouls.

For every extra foul made by one team after the time limit has passed, the other team gets a chance to shoot free throws. This extra chance at free throws is called a “bonus.” This essay talks about how bonuses work, what makes the NBA special, and more.

How Do the Basketball Bonus Rules Work?

In the NBA and WNBA, if a team commits five defensive fouls in a quarter, that team gets a bonus. When a team gets five fouls in a quarter, the other team gets two free throws for each defensive foul after that.

Even when the goal is not to shoot, like when the ball is lost or when a defensive foul is made, free throws are given for shooting fouls.

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What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball

​What Does it Mean to be in the Bonus in Basketball?

If a basketball team is in the bonus and gets fouled again while on offense, they get another free shot. Even though the number of fouls that triggers the bonus is different in the NBA, FIBA, and NCAA, the idea is the same.

What About the Last Two Minutes of NBA Regulation?

In the NBA, a team can only get called for one defensive foul in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. Each time the other team gets a foul, they get a chance to shoot free throws.

With two minutes left, the NBA’s bonus rule changes. This is done so that a team can’t keep fouling another team if it has a lot less than five players on the court.

Ways to Be Strategic if You Are on Defensive During the Bonus

You can plan your fouls for the rest of the quarter so you don’t give the other team extra points they don’t need.

What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball

When playing defense, a team may intentionally foul a player who has a low percentage of made free throws. Free-throw attempts can cost you points, so it might be smart to foul the player who is less likely to make them.

In the last few minutes of an NBA game, it’s not unusual for the other team’s defense to double-team their best shooter to stop them from taking any more shots.

That could mean that the offense has an option to pass. If that person isn’t a good free throw shooter, the defensive team may foul him on purpose to stop the clock.

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What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball

How Long Does a Bonus Last in the NBA?

In the NBA, each quarter-time clock runs for 12 minutes. Because a bonus is applied for the whole quarter, teams that get five fouls early in the quarter are at a defensive disadvantage because they give the other team more chances to “score.”

Do Offensive Fouls Count Against the Bonus?

Offensive fouls like pushing, charging, and screening do not take away from bonuses.

What Happens If a Team is Under the Bonus Cap?

If an NBA or WNBA team has less than five fouls for the quarter, they can foul a player who is not shooting without giving up a free throw.

When a shooting foul happens when no one is shooting, the offensive team gets the ball and moves it to the sideline. They then start a new play from the out of bounds line.

If a player tries to start a possession with the ball outside of the restricted area, the clock won’t start until the ball is passed inside the restricted area.

What about the FIBA International Basketball League?

The biggest difference between the rules of the FIBA and the NBA is that the FIBA’s bonus punishment doesn’t start until the fourth defensive foul is made, while the NBA’s doesn’t start until the fourth.

What About the NCAA College Basketball League?

Before the other team gets a set of free throws in the NCAA, the defensive team can make up to six fouls in a half. If the player at the free-throw line makes their first shot, they get another shot at the basket.

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After the tenth foul, the offensive team gets a double bonus, which means that each free throw shot is worth twice as much.

What Does Double Bonus Mean in College Basketball?

The NCAA starts the “double bonus rule” after the tenth foul, which gives the team two chances to make free throws if they are in a “bonus.”

Before then, NCAA bonus rules say that if they make the first free throw, they get two more chances. But NBA and WNBA players get two free throws to start with when they are in a bonus.

What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball

What Makes the NCAA Different from the NBA/WNBA?

Here are two big differences between the NBA and WNBA and the NCAA:

  • In NCAA games, a bonus free throw only gives you one shot right away, not two. After each team gets ten fouls in a half, they each get two free throws.
  • In the NBA and WNBA, basketball games are split into four quarters. In the NCAA, games are split into two halves.

These are not the only two differences, but they are the ones that are most important to this discussion.

Conclusion – What Does a Bonus Mean in Basketball?

In short, a bonus in basketball lets a team take “free” shots at free throws if the defense makes too many mistakes. The NBA, FIBA, and NCAA all use a similar method, but the number of fouls is different in each.

Because of this, the defensive team has to be smart and careful when fouling to stop the attacking team from getting into the bonus and scoring easy points.

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