Matt Painter sips his coffee. The mug clatters softly as he shakily sets it on the coaster. He is trying to read the Washington Post in his hotel suite as his assistants speak in hushed tones in the other room. The only other sound is his son, sitting on the bed, playing games on his iPhone. He listens for a moment. He shudders as hears the muffled but unmistakable announcer's call: "He's on fire!"
Not NBA Jam. Not today of all days.
He sets down his newspaper and calls to his assistants. "Hey, Jack, do you have the scouting report for tomorrow?" He tugs his collar nervously.
"Right here, coach," says Jack Owens, setting the packet on the table. It is newly printed, but there are already smudges of dripping sweat and creases where Owens was gripping the pages.
Painter picks up his coffee and opens the cover sheet to glance at the opponent rundown.
Painter's mug plunges from his hand. It strikes the table and shatters, lukewarm coffee splashing everywhere. The packet falls to the floor, eluding his desperate swipe to catch it. His son looks up from the game. "You ok, Dad?"
Painter stares at the packet for a moment. "I'm fine, son, I'm fine." He picks up the packet and mutters unintelligibly under his breath. He rubs his eyes. He opens the cover and looks again.
He catches the nervous glance of Owens through the door, and they hold eye contact for an extra moment. He looks away and tosses the packet to the side.
His mouth twitches involuntarily.