Winning Time Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: Lakers Fight For a Comeback

Image Credit: Warrick Page/HBO

The second season of HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ hurtles to the conclusion with an amped-up narrative pace in the sixth episode. The episode follows the Los Angeles Lakers basketball as they experience the rising highs of building their dynasty but are quickly plunged into the depths of failure. After winning another NBA Championship, the Lakers face a wipeout in the Finals series a year later, forcing Jerry Buss, Jerry West, and Pat Riley to make some tough calls. The ending of ‘Winning Time’ season 2, episode 6, leaves the Lakers in a sink-or-swim situation, leaving viewers with several questions. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Winning Time Season 2 Episode 6 Recap

The sixth episode, titled ‘Beat LA,’ opens with the LA Lakers winning the 1982 NBA Finals series by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers. The players celebrate the victory as Magic Johnson monologues about winning and his pride and joy in witnessing the team’s efforts paying off. The episode jumps a year ahead and takes viewers to the 1983 NBA Finals, where the Lakers face the Philadelphia 76ers again. The battered and bruised 76ers are determined to avenge their loss a year ago and demolish the Lakers, winning the Championship with a 4-0 clean sweep.

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The Lakers are outpaced and outmatched, and the team’s leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is clearly past his prime. Moreover, Magic seems unready to replace Kareem as the dominant force behind the team. Jerry Buss becomes dismayed with his team’s loss and meets General Manager Jerry West and Head Coach Pat Riley to discuss solutions. The think tank gives Buss various reasons for the team’s collapse in the 1983 NBA Finals. However, Buss insists West and Riley must figure things out and lose the NBA Championship again.

Kareem explores trade options, but his performance in the Finals leaves all the teams uninterested in him. As a result, Kareem’s agent encourages him to interact and connect with his fans. Meanwhile, Buss experiences trouble in his family life as his relationship with Honey Kaplan stagnates. Eventually, the couple fight and decide to end their marriage after Honey discovers Buss is still legally married to his first wife and lied about it to her.

Elsewhere, Magic speaks with Earletha “Cookie” Kelly and later visits her in San Diego. Magic’s presence helps Cookie land her dream job, leading to the former couple reconciling. Meanwhile, West decides to shake things up with the Lakers’ roster. He reveals the San Diego Clippers have accepted a trade offer for Dutch Center Swen Nater and rookie Shooting Guard Byron Scott. However, the Clippers want one of Lakers’ star players in exchange. After much deliberation, it is decided that the Lakers will give up Norm Nixon to complete the trade. The Lakers squad attends Norm’s birthday party, where the player receives the news of his departure.

The team takes the opportunity to celebrate Norm’s time with the Lakers before bidding him farewell. At the same time, Riley worries about the team’s motivation and morale being affected by them winning two NBA Championships. While he scrambles to fix the squad’s performances on the court, Riley knows the issue is with the team’s mentality. Elsewhere, Magic decides to commit his future to Cookie and proposes to her, and the couple gets engaged. On the other hand, Buss is served a legal notice by Veronica “Honey” Kaplan, and the lawsuit could jeopardize Buss’ ownership of the Lakers.

Winning Time Season 2 Episode 6 Ending: Do the Lakers Make a Comeback?

The episode highlights the Lakers’ struggle to develop a winning mentality essential to prolong their success. The core of the Lakers’ squad remains mostly unchanged from their NBA Championship-winning seasons in 1980 and 1982. However, players like Kareem and Magic must reinvent and apply themselves better on the court for better performances. In the episode’s final act, a fire at Kareem’s house serves as the spark that reignites a desire to win within the Lakers. After experiencing the horror of almost losing his family to the fire, Kareem realizes he is loved and adored by the Lakers fans. As a result, he attempts to make a genuine connection with them and wants to repay the fans’ faith by winning.

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Later, Kareem addresses his team and delivers a rousing speech fired by his recent experiences. Kareem’s speech galvanizes the team, and the Lakers are hungry to add more titles under their belt. During the 1983-84 season, the Lakers slowly returned to dominating opposition teams look like their former selves. The Lakers’ steady performances take them to the Conference Finals, where they continue to showcase their prowess on the court. Meanwhile, the Lakers’ bitter rivals, the Boston Celtics, also make it to their Conference Finals before progressing to the NBA Finals.

Ultimately, the Lakers need just one victory to book their place in the 1984 NBA Finals, setting up a dream matchup against the Celtics. However, Jerry Buss makes a speech, reminding his players that the Lakers-Celtics rivalry is only getting started and will get more heated with the upcoming finals. Thus, the episode ends by getting up a Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Finals, while the Lakers have regained their mojo and are more determined to win than ever. However, to complete their comeback story, they must win the NBA Finals, and their bitter rivals stand between them and glory.

Read More: Winning Time Season 2 Episode 5 Recap and Ending, Explained