Basketball: Amaechi cannot keep Sharks in chase for Budweiser title

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The Independent Online
By Richard Taylor

LESS than a week after his 40-point heroics took Sheffield to victory in the Uni-ball League Trophy final, John Amaechi was on the wrong end of two defeats which cost the Sharks their place among the Budweiser League title contenders.

The 6ft 10in England international missed two free throws 11 seconds from time against struggling Crystal Palace on Friday night, freeing Brad Wedel to clinch an astonishing 92-91 win with a three-point play.

On Saturday, the Sharks lost 81-80 at Derby after DeRon Rutledge put the Storm ahead nine seconds from time. Derby's young English centre David Attewell blocked Amaechi's attempt to snatch victory for the Sharks with the final shot of the game.

Birmingham's 82-77 win at Leicester City Riders means only they can stop the leaders, Greater London Leopards, retaining their league title. But the Bullets' Barbadian playmaker Nigel Lloyd would have preferred Sheffield to stay in the hunt.

Lloyd said: "Sheffield play Leopards in their last game of the season and we could need the Sharks to win it. Now they might not have the incentive to give it 100 per cent."