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Could you tell me what is a difference of meaning between the two structures?

We watched them play basketball.

We watched them playing basketball.

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We watched them play basketball.

has a similar meaning to: They played basketball. We watched them. (This implies that we watched the whole game.)

We watched them playing basketball.

has a similar meaning to: They were playing basketball when we watched them. (This implies that we might not watch the whole game. Like when we walked into a gym and watched the game only for a few minutes.)

It might be easier to consider this scenario: She was sleeping when a thief broke into her house. Clearly, the thief won't spend the whole time waiting for her to wake up and found him. She was sleeping before the thief broke into her house. She was still sleeping even the thief had long gone.

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