How to Read a Box Score

During every NBA game, there are multiple people called statisticians sitting courtside keeping track of everything that happens on the court.

Which player shot the ball? Was it a make or a miss? If it was a miss, which player collected the rebound? Did a defender block the shot? If the shot was made, was it assisted by a teammate?

The statisticians enter all of that information into a computer as the game is going on in order to produce the box score and play-by-play for each game. The stats are updated inside the arena and are available online for fans to follow the game in real time.

Reading a box score is an easy way to see which team and players had the most success in any basketball game. Every NBA box score contains the same information, so once you know what to look for, it is easy to find it.

At the top of the page will be the score of the game as well as a breakdown of the score for each quarter of play. Other items listed here include the game’s attendance, officials and game time.

The main portion of the box score follows and is presented in a table format with the following categories. Every player is listed for both teams (with the starters listed first) and their statistics in each category next to their name.

  • MIN = Minutes
  • FGM = Field-goals made
  • FGA = Field-goals attempted
  • FG% = Field goal percentage
  • 3PM = 3-pointers made
  • 3PA = 3-pointers attempted
  • 3P% = 3-point percentage
  • FTM = Free throws made
  • FTA = Free throws attempted
  • FT% = Free throw percentage
  • OREB = Offensive rebounds
  • DREB = Defensive rebounds
  • REB = Total rebounds
  • AST = Assists
  • TOV = Turnovers
  • STL = Steals
  • BLK = Blocked shots
  • PF = Personal fouls
  • PTS = Points scored
  • +/- = Plus/Minus

In addition to showing each individual player’s stats, the bottom line of each table is the total of the player stats, which make the team stats for the game.

Below the tables listing the player stats, you will find additional team stats (points in the paint, second chance points and fastbreak points) from the game as well as the biggest lead for each team, the number of times that lead changed or the game was tied.

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