DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV Stream are holding a free preview of HBO and Cinemax from today (September 15) through Monday, September 18. The HBO and Cinemax live channels are now available on DIRECTV from channels 501 to 523 and 501-522 on DIRECTV Stream. U-verse subscribers can tune in on channels 1802-1846.

HBO now offers such shows and movies as The Flash, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets, Succession while Cinemax is featuring movies such as  I Love You, Man, Blair Witch, Poltergeist (2015) and Last Night in Soho. But if you were going to watch just one show during the HBO and Cinemax preview, it should be Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.

The HBO original drama series returned last month for its seven-episode second season. The show, which stars John C. Reilly as Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, explores the personal and professional lives of the team from 1980s through 1984, culminating in an NBA Finals rematch between the Magic Johnson-led Lakers against the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics. The cast also includes Quincy Isaiah as Magic, Adrien Brody as Lakers coach Pat Riley, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, the owner’s ambitious daughter, and DeVaughn Nixon, as his real-life father, Lakers point guard Norm Nixon.

Winning Time sometimes stretches the truth about the Lakers and their winning ways in the 1980s, but the show is funny, poignant and eerily good at capturing the diverse and unique personalities that made up the team. You will think that Quincy Isaiah is Magic Johnson after watching an episode or two, but the entire cast is terrific, particularly Reilly as the flamboyant and brilliant Buss and Clarke as West, the human logo. If you love sports, you will love this show. And even if you don’t, you will love this show. It’s a total slam dunk.

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— Phillip Swann