Episode 7 of Winning Time leads us through a major coaching shake-up as Paul Westhead takes the helm of the Lakers ship while Jack McKinney still lies in the hospital.
Jerry Buss is comparing his current situation with the Lakers to Monopoly, highlighting how the game is different from others as it has that element of chance: "No matter how good you are at the game, the bad breaks come." We circle through a few specific "chance" cards, including the bank being on Buss' tail, McKinney's bike fall, and Buss' mother being diagnosed with metastatic cancer. After all of these negative cards, Buss feels that he's due for a win.
We're thrown into an extremely close Lakers game, but it seems like the Lakers are overall losing their momentum. It has been six weeks since McKinney's bike fall, the team has hit an impasse, and Westhead isn't always making the best decisions. Jerry West compares Westhead to a substitute teacher, as the players often have to make decisions for themselves instead of being directed. He's pushing for them to hire Elgin Baylor instead of staying with Westhead, though Buss isn't completely sold just yet.
Buss stops by to visit McKinney in the hospital, who's angrily practicing how to tie a shoe in his bed. Though he can't even do that, he tells Buss to bet on him instead of going with another coach. "I'm your guy," McKinney says. "I'm comin' back." He instructs Buss to keep going along with Westhead until the doctors are able to clear him to coach in about one or two months. And after a phone call with McKinney, Westhead wants Pat Riley to take over as assistant coach, as he has been passing him notes from the announcer's box with tips and instructions. After a bit of convincing, Riley finally agrees.
The Lakers hit the road and head off to Indiana, though they end up losing their first game against the Pacers. Afterward, Riley gives Westhead a much-needed pep talk after they overhear Spencer Haywood talking poorly of him.