Riley Backs Johnson to Repeat as MVP Despite Laker Guard's Pessimism

After another dominating performance by his point guard, Laker Coach Pat Riley supported Magic Johnson's bid to win the NBA's most valuable player award a second consecutive time.

But Johnson already has given his concession speech.

"They aren't going to give it to me," said Johnson after scoring 32 points, passing for 14 assists and grabbing eight rebounds Sunday. "They are saying my scoring is down from last year, and that's what they look at. I know I should be right there (for MVP), but they aren't going to consider me."

The "they" to whom Johnson refers are selected sportswriters who vote on the award.

So, who does Johnson believe will win the MVP?

"I don't know," he said.

Riley still lobbied for Johnson.

"I don't want to politic for him, but if there's an MVP in this league, if's Earvin," Riley said. "He does it every night. He does everything to keep us from losing."

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