The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by Israeli coach David Blatt still in his first year in the NBA, suffered an embarrassing home loss on Thursday night, losing Game 4 of the NBA Finals by 103-82 against the Golden State Warriors as the series evens up at 2-2.
But the disappointment didn't just remain on the hardwood; in a post-game press conference Blatt was asked by an Israeli journalist what he can tell the people of Israel who woke up in the middle of the night to follow the game with bated breath.
"That's a hell of a thing to have on your conscience all the time," said the coach wryly. "When I got seven million people waking up and then feeling bad all day because we didn't win, you know that's a heck of a thing to carry around all day."
Israeli media has been closely covering the Finals given the presence of Blatt, who previously led Maccabi Tel Aviv to victory at the Euroleague championships and contributed greatly to Israeli basketball.
Blatt said on Thursday night, "we're in a three game series for the NBA Finals. Six months ago I'd have bought that. We've got to go back to the drawing board…and try to win this thing."
Trying to explain his team's dismal performance despite enjoying a home court advantage, the Israeli coach said the team was tired, noting, "it was our third game in five days, including a flight from the west coast, and the pressure is influencing us. We are with a shorter rotation, and everyone needs to give more."
The Cavs' star LeBron James was notably quiet from the field, bagging a mere 20 points under tight defense after scoring an impressive 40 in Game 3.
James brushed off the seriousness of an injury he suffered in Game 4 when he hit his head, saying he would not use it as an excuse for the loss and that it was nothing more than a cut.
Aside from James a key component in the Cavs' last win was Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova, who shone with his sheer hustle, defense and clutch shooting.
But after his intense performance Dellavedova suffered dehydration and cramping, so much so that he needed to spend a night in hospital. The over-exertion appeared to have made its effect felt in Game 4.