Manchester Magic fans crammed into the John Amaechi Centre for their hero's return on Saturday, but it was Samit Nuriyev who had them dancing on to the court after his last-second three-pointer claimed a 75-74 win over London United to take Magic to the top of division one of the English Basketball League.
The 6ft 10in Amaechi, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets of the NBA, partly funded the bricks and mortar which created the centre bearing his name and he gave a workmanlike performance on his Magic debut.
It was all the 33 year-old was expecting of himself in his first competitive game for more than three weeks since the New York Knicks paid off his £3.5m contract.
"It's important I don't disrupt what the boys are doing on court. The Magic are on an unbeaten run and I have to fit in to continue that run."
London looked like disrupting Magic's progress after the three-point shooting of Steve Vear (23 points), the former BBL forward Errol Seaman (17 points) and the Canadian Damien Reid (13 points) chipped away at Magic's 15-point lead.
London led 74-72 when the Magic coach Jeff Jones called a time-out with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock. Jeff Bevington put the ball in play to Nuriyev, who lost control but regained possession and launched his match-winning three-pointer from the corner as he fell away.
Nuriyev (20 points) Jones's son Callum (18 points) and Bevington (16 points) led Magic's scorers.
Magic went top ahead of Plymouth Raiders, who lost 73-59 in the National Trophy semi-finals against Sutton Pumas. In the other semi, Worthing Thunder withstood a Sheffield Arrows fightback to win 78-74.Reuse content