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HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ not renewed for third season

The finale of the second season of HBO’s “Winning Time” will serve as the series finale, as the show will not return for a third season.

Deadline Contenders Television – Panels - Day 2 Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Deadline Hollywood

If it felt like Sunday’s finale of season two of “Winning Time” had an ominous tone to it in the final scenes, you weren’t mistaken. And it’s a finale that foretold the future of the series.

On Sunday, HBO confirmed in a statement that the season two finale of “Winning Time” will serve as the series finale with the show not renewed for a third season.

The show’s future has been under question with Jeff Pearlman, who wrote the book “Showtime” that the series is based on, being the loudest voice preaching on the importance for fans to tune in each week with the show’s future in doubt otherwise.

Unfortunately, those warnings ended up being in vain.

A very strong, albeit short, second season of the show focused on following the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s — led by Dr. Jerry Buss, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — through their rivalry with the Boston Celtics led by Red Auerbach and Larry Bird, and Sunday’s finale came to an end with an ominous closing.

Spoiler Warning: For those who may be wishing to watch the series or the finale episode still, there are spoilers for how the second season, and series, ends below.

Following the Lakers’ loss in Game 7 to the Celtics in the 1984 Finals, a despondent Lakers locker room and Magic gives way to some foreshadowing in a scene with Dr. Buss and his daughter Jeanie before a photo montage shows how the 1980s and ensuing decades as a whole played out for all the main focuses of the show.

It was the type of montage that certainly did not suggest there would be future seasons of “Winning Time,” and that the creators were aware this was the end. Adding to that impression is the reality that when I watched this finale a few weeks ago, it cut to black with Magic in the shower. Now there has been an entire scene added foreshadowing Jeanie Buss' eventual succession of her father, Dr. Jerry Buss, as well as the aforementioned montage outlining where everyone ended up.

It’s still a shame, because that ultimately means a show dedicated to the Showtime Lakers is going to end with the Lakers losing to the Celtics in the ‘84 NBA Finals.

The good news is that the Lakers got plenty of revenge in real life and had the last laugh. But it’s a sad ending for a show that seemed to have really found its groove in the second season.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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