Magic Johnson: 'Michigan State Is Playing Our Best Ball Right Now' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / May 28.
  • Magic Johnson: ‘Michigan State Is Playing Our Best Ball Right Now’

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    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-Michigan State vs GeorgiaCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Magic Johnson stood right behind Michigan State coach Tom Izzo while cheering on the Spartans on Friday afternoon here at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

    And then he backed up the legendary coach after the game, too.

    “He’s done an amazing job with the team,” Johnson said after No. 7 Michigan State beat No. 10 Georgia, 70-63, in an East Region game.

    Denzel Valentine went for 16 points and 6 assists, Travis Trice had 15 points and 6 assists and Branden Dawson had 14 points and 7 rebounds.

    “We survived and we’re advancing and it’s going to get tougher every game,” said Izzo, whose team will face the Virginia/Belmont winner here on Sunday.

    Michigan State lost 11 games during the season, including blowing the lead in the Big Ten Tournament final against Wisconsin. They entered the NCAA Tournament with an unfamiliar No. 7 seed next to their name instead of the higher seed we normally associate with Izzo’s teams.

    “I thought the Big Ten Tournament really got us playing well so we can play today well,” Johnson said.

    “We were inconsistent throughout the year, played good and played bad and played good,” he added. “Then we had a lot of injuries but Tom has always kept it together, and then he found a combination that he was looking for. And then just like every year it seems like, he got the playing really good basketball at the end of the season. We’re playing our best ball right now and the key is keeping Branden Dawson out on that court because he’s such an incredible basketball player. but it’s all about coach Izzo, his preparation with the guys, his game-planning, the execution, so i’m excited about what we can do if we can continue to play on this level.

    “I’m just hoping we can hang in there and play good on Sunday,” Johnson said.

    Photo: USA Today Sports

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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