HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ is a sports drama series that tells a fictionalized version of the LA Lakers’ “Showtime” era and highlights their influence on the sport of basketball. The second season follows the LA Lakers basketball team as they experience the ups and downs of the sport during the 1980s. In the second episode of season 2, Magic Johnson makes his comeback after a lengthy knee injury kept him on the sidelines for nearly a hundred days. However, Magic’s return messes with Paul Westhead’s new style of play, and tensions start rising within the team. If you are wondering how Magic’s return affects the team and the Lakers’ performances, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Winning Time’ season 2 episode 2! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Winning Time Season 2 Episode 2 Recap
The second episode, titled ‘The Magic Is Back,’ opens with the media questioning Norm Nixon, Bill Sharman, Paul Westhead, Pat Riley, and Magic Johnson about the latter’s impending return to the court after a lengthy injury. However, Norm is unbothered about Magic’s return as he has thrived in Magic’s absence and has been one of the Lakers’ best players. Meanwhile, Magic is excited to return to the fold and expects the same fanfare that followed him during the rookie season. During practice, Magic and Norm clash, and Jerry Buss becomes concerned with Magic being reintegrated into the team.
Meanwhile, Riley offers to keep an eye on Magic as he assimilates to Westhead’s “System” style of play. In the locker room, Magic feels left out from his teammates. On the other hand, Riley believes the team must make some adjustments to accommodate Magic, with the playoffs just a month away. Jerry West informs Westhead and Riley that Denver Nuggets’ star shooter David Thompson is available for trade. However, the Lakers must send Norm Nixon in the opposite direction. Riley supports the idea of trading Norm with Magic returning from injury, as the team does not need two Point Guards. However, Westhead is apprehensive about the trade and wants to look at Thompson before deciding on the trade.
Elsewhere, Jerry Buss fixates on Honey, one of his former love interests, and wants to reunite with her. On the other hand, Jeanie Buss finds it difficult to balance her personal life and business ambitions while trying to emulate her father. It leads to conflict with her brother, Johnny Buss, who warns Jeanie she will never win Jerry’s approval and affection by copying him. Magic returns to the court but struggles to perform in his first match back in the tea, costing the Lakers an important victory.
Later, Riley comforts Magic, and they hold private training sessions to help him cope with his knee recovery. Meanwhile, Jerry meets Honey, and they go for dinner, leading to a reconnection. Norm learns from a reporter about the rumors of him being traded away. As a result, he makes an insulting comment about Magic in the press. Westhead is convinced to trade Norm for Thompson but decides against it when he learns that Magic knows of the trade. As a result, Westhead becomes concerned with Magic’s inflated ego, but Riley reminds Westhead he is on a similar path.
The Lakers qualify for the playoffs and face Houston Rockets in a 3-game series. However, the conflict between Norm and Magic is further sparked by Norm’s comments in the media about Magic’s future. The Lakers lose the first game partially due to the arguments between Norm and Magic. The duo continues to butt heads into the second game of the series. However, Michael Cooper is forced to intervene and forces Magic and Norm to make up with each other. The internal feuding causes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to lash out, and he makes Norm and Magic apologize to each other as the Lakers complete a second-half comeback to win the second game.
Winning Time Season 2 Episode 2 Ending: Do Lakers Win in the Playoffs?
While returning home on the plane after the second game, Westhead speaks with a reporter who reveals Magic’s knee is worse than it looks and claims it is the reason why Westhead decided against signing Thompson. As a result, Westhead becomes pissed at Riley and confronts the assistant coach while the rest of the team hears their heated argument. In the argument, Westhead also comments about Norm’s potential trade to another team which upsets him. As a result, the Lakers’ inner chemistry and teamwork are in shambles ahead of the final game of the first round. Moreover, tensions in the team are rising, with Magic and Norm being incapable of playing together.
Ultimately, the Lakers enter the third and final match, with their morale taking a massive hit. However, the Lakers put on a fighting performance and nearly salvaged victory. However, the Rockets score and take a point lead with only fifteen seconds to play. Westhead asks Magic to run the play and demands his Point Guard pass the ball to the shooting options. However, Riley attempts to boost Magic’s confidence, resulting in Magic taking the shot himself during the game’s dying moments. Magic fails to score from outside the area, resulting in a loss and costing the Lakers a shot at retaining their Championship title. The Lakers crash out from the title race in the first round of playoffs for the first time in three decades, and dark clouds of uncertainty loom over Westhead, Magic, and Norm’s futures.