Calgary Surge: Rule differences you need to know compared to the NBA

While Calgary’s going to get pro basketball come next year, it may not look exactly like what you see when you watch the NBA Toronto Raptors.

On Wednesday, the Calgary Surge team name and colours were announced, and with it a new professional sports franchise was launched in this city. They will play in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), which has 10 teams in six provinces.

The league plays by all Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA) rules, not NBA rules. There’s one big exception: the CEBL has adopted Target Score Ending – also known as the Elam Ending – for the fourth quarter.

According to the CEBL’s Senior Director of Brand and Marketing, Ansh Sanyal, the CEBL is the first pro FIBA league to adopt this system.

Here’s how it works (from Sanyal)

  • The first time the game clock is stopped with 4:00 minutes or less in the 4th quarter of each game, timed play will end, and a target score will be set, equal to the leading team’s score, plus nine (9). Example: At the stoppage, if the game’s score is 77-71, then the target score after adding 9 points is 86.
  • If the first stoppage at/under 4:00 is a foul shot resulting in free throws, the free throw(s) will be administered before setting the target score.
  • The shot clock remains intact and used for the entire duration of the 4th quarter of the game as it normally would be.
  • Only two (2) time-outs may be used by each team during the untimed portion of the 4th quarter.
  • The first team to reach the target score wins the game.

“This instantly makes for a much more exciting game,” he wrote in an email. Sanyal even sent over a video from last year’s championship to demonstrate it.

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Other rule differences between FIBA and NBA

There are a variety of other rules that won’t be the same as the NBA. As you begin your journey as a fan of the Calgary Surge, it’s probably good to know what’s going on.

Here are some of the main differences you’ll see when the Surge are on the court. (There are smaller nuances to some of these that you’ll pick up as you continue to learn the FIBA game.)

Smaller court size: The FIBA court is 91.86 feet by 49.21 feet. By comparison, the NBA court is 95×50.

Three pointers: In the NBA, the furthest distance for a trey is 7.24 metres. At the corners, however, it’s 6.75 metres.  In the CEBL / FIBA – the three point line is 6.75 metres.

Quarter length: NBA – 12 mins. FIBA – 10 mins.  Overtime is 5 minutes in both (except with the Target Score Ending).

Timeouts: In the NBA, teams have seven timeouts each during regulation. They can use no more than four timeouts in the final quarter. OT has two timeouts – players in possession, or coaches, can call a timeout.  In FIBA rules, teams can use two timeouts in the first half and three in the second half. In OT, only one timeout is allowed, and only the coach can call it.

Fouls: The NBA personal foul limit is six. FIBA sets it at 5 (before being fouled out).  Flagrant 1 and 2 don’t exist in FIBA, but they have similar rules for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Goaltending: Both rule books have goaltending. The basic rule is when a player blocks an opponent’s shot after hitting the backboard. In the NBA, players can’t touch the ball above the rim in an imaginary cylinder extending upward.   FIBA rules allow for the ball to be touched (and tipped in) while it’s in the cylinder, AFTER hitting the rim.

Jump Balls: No in-game jump balls in FIBA. There is an alternating possession rule.

Coach challenges: Not in FIBA. Fouls can be reviewed by referees though.

Three second violations: FIBA only has an offensive three-seconds (in the key) violation. The NBA has them for both the offense and the defense.

(Compiled and compared between various sources

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