Basketball: Towers triumph thanks to Lewis

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The Independent Online
LONDON TOWERS pulled off a sensational 82-80 victory over the Italian giants Olimpia Milan in the Saporta Cup last night.

Danny Lewis profited from a Neville Austin steal to put the Towers 80- 79 ahead 45 seconds from the end of a tight game. After the home side netted just one of two free throws, Lewis bagged the winner nine seconds from the end to give Towers a memorable victory in Italy.

In the NBA, the England international John Amaechi scored a career-best 18 points plus six rebounds in 29 minutes on Monday to lead the Orlando Magic past the Houston Rockets, 102-97.

The 6ft 10in forward/centre came off the bench to inspire the Magic to their third victory of the NBA campaign, which began a week ago. Orlando were struggling until Amaechi, who was brought on for the centre Michael Doleac, made two free throws.

"We started slow, but I told our guys if we just keep the pressure on, it will turn our way," the Magic coach Doc Rivers, said. "We make so many substitutions that we knew we could find a way to give us the break we needed."

Amaechi, who led Sheffield Sharks to a Uni-ball Trophy when he played in England, struggled from the field, making only five of 14 shots. He did most of his damage by pounding away inside and getting to the line, where he scored with eight of his nine free throws. He also sealed the victory with a crucial basket late on.

Darrell Armstrong had given the Magic a 95-94 lead with a driving lay- up in the final two minutes before Amaechi struck the killer blow by hitting from four feet and drawing a foul. He converted the three-point free throw.

Orlando are now one game behind the Atlantic Division leaders, the New York Knicks, who are hoping to reach the NBA finals for the second season in a row.