# What does ‘Go for a three’ mean in the basketball?

In New Yorker magazine (April 25) titled “A marriage counselor tries to heckle at a Knicks game” -http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/04/a-marriage-counselor-tries-to-heckle-at-a-knicks-game.html- there was the following statement:

“Laughter and joke-telling is healthy and can be used to convey messages that may otherwise be too difficult to express!

Melo, you suck! - - Ref, are you blind? - - FOUL? Are you kidding me?

Get your head out of your ass, you must be the most flexible person I’ve ever seen!

Go for a three! I want to see this game go to overtime! I know it’s difficult to hear, but I believe there is a future for you both!"

For me as an utter layman of pro basketball games, it seems a fervent New York Knicks fan is sending a yell to Melo who was robbed his play by the ref, but what does “Go for a three” mean? I was unable to find the hint for this phrase on Google search.

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Since Jim has correctly answered your question (assuming that you already knew that a basket from inside the three-point line is worth two points, while a basket from outside the line is worth three points), I'll focus on the nature of the three-point line, in case you're interested. The Wikipedia article on "Basketball court" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_court) spells out the "three-point line" in some detail:

The NBA three-point line is 3 ft (0.91 m) from the sideline in a zone starting at the baseline and ending when it crosses the 23.75 ft (7.24 m) arc. The 22 ft (6.70 m) measurement applies only at a point where a line parallel to the baseline intersects the long axis of the court and the center of the basket.

As this description makes clear, "three-point line" is a bit of a misnomer for the NBA's three-point demarcation: It isn't a straight line across the floor of the court, as the blue lines in a hockey rink and the 50-yard line on a football field are. Nor is it a semicircle that uses the basket as its midpoint. Rather it consists of two lines parallel to the sides of the court that start at the baseline and eventually meet an arc that has a fixed distance to the basket as its radius.

A three-point shot is thus possible from a shorter distance near the baseline than in the area where the arc defines the three-point line. A radio announcer can easily distinguish between these two positions on the court by saying, for example, "Thompson takes a three from the wing [the shorter three-pointer from the side]" or "Curry takes a three from beyond the arc [the longer three-pointer from the curved part of the three-point line]."

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A 3-point shot is a shot taken from behind the 3-point line which delineates an area farther from the basket. The farther from the basket the more difficult the shot, and therefore more points are awarded for these shots.

The fan is urging to the player to attempt a 3-point shot. Probably because a successful 3-point shot would tie the game as the game timer expired thus causing the game to go into overtime.

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