Veteran forward Tim Coenraad believes this week has the potential to be make or break for the Hawks’ season.
Illawarra host a huge home double header in round five, with defending champions Melbourne United and perennial powerhouse Perth Wildcats both set to visit Wollongong.
It comes as Illawarra languish in seventh on the ladder with a 2-4 record.
The Wildcats (5-1) lead the league the competition ahead of their visit on Thursday night while United (4-2) return to WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday afternoon.
"We need these two. We can't fall back any further I don't think," Coenraad said.
"You always look back at seasons and think, that one we should have got or that one we should have got.
"These two are massive for us right now.
“They could really determine how the season is going to go.
"You take two losses and you're in a spot where they the team is down and you're not feeling that great about yourself.
"If you get two wins then it can springboard you into the second half of the season."
Illawarra have struggled to build momentum through the first four rounds of the season.
They slumped to another road defeat on Friday night against the Sydney Kings after a dominant performance from star centre Andrew Bogut.
The former Golden State Warriors big-man had a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Kings marched to a 86-79 win at Qudos Bank Arena.
"I thought we lost it in the little one percenters," Coenraad said.
"I thought they were on the loose balls before we were, I thought they were on the loose balls before we were. I thought the 50-50 rebounds they got.
"Even the little things where guys like Kevin Lisch and [Brad] Newley were fighting over screens harder.
“Those little one on one contests that if you get you get over the screen first, the big doesn't have to help and Bogut isn't dunks.
"I think we have to take a little bit more pride in our one-on-one defence and fighting a little bit harder."
Illawarra were left to rue another slow start, which all but cost them any chance of victory.
They were outscored 27-12 in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 22 points in the second quarter before staging a second half fightback.
It mirrored the slow beginning the Hawks put in just four days earlier in a disappointing loss to Melbourne United away from home.
“The [slow start] was one of the main points that we were addressing right before we went out for the last warm up, but we are just not getting it done,” Coenraad said.
“I think the tempo has a lot to do with it.
“We wanted to get up and in and force them into a running game but they are really good in the half court.
“Guys like Andrew Bogut can pick you up so we wanted to increase the tempo but I don’t think we were efficient enough throughout that first half.”