THEY came to see LaMelo but it was Brisbane gun Lamar Patterson who stole the show, with the former Atlanta Hawk spoiling the Hawks' opening night party in Wollongong on Sunday.
While most of the pre-game focus was on the LaMelo Ball's first regular season appearance for his new club, it was the veterans who had the biggest say in the 90-81 win to Brisbane.
Patterson had a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Aaron Brooks led the Hawks with 24 points after starting from the bench.
Ball had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a solid debut outing, but had a rough 0-5 night from the perimeter. It mirrored his side's collective 4-25 from deep and 67 per cent from the line.
The Bullets were much sharper from the perimeter, with Nathan Sobey grabbing 15 of his 17 points in the first half - all of them from long-range - while Jason Cadee had nine of his 12 points in triples.
AJ Ogilvy (13 points) and Todd Blanchfield (10) were the other Hawks in double-figures, but coach Matt Flinn conceded his side were punished for slow starts to both halves - particularly an 11-1 run to start the third quarter.
"It's been the story of our preseason and something we're working hard to address," Flinn said.
"We were comfortable tonight with the game plan, I just felt we gave up the three way too much and a lot of open looks for them.
"Teams like Brisbane, who are so potent from the three-point line, if you giving up those open looks you're on a hiding to nothing there. Credit to them they spaced the floor well and there's just some adjustments we've got to make.
"I think everyone saw tonight we're going to be an exciting team to watch, I just think some of our execution down the stretch maybe hurt us.
"We'll look at it, we don't get too up, we're not going to get too down. We're disappointed we couldn't pick up the first game of the year at home.
"We wanted to protect our home court and we weren't able to do that but I still think we're going to give some teams some trouble this year."
Their next task is as tough as it gets, backing up next week on the road in Perth, a place that's traditionally been a graveyard for visiting Hawks team.
They'll have more than the 48 hours they had to recover for the corresponding clash last season but Flinn is well aware of how tough the prospect is.
"Playing in Perth is always difficult, I think we've won there once in 10 years, but why not this year," he said.
"We'll evaluate [Sunday's] game, look after our bodies and then Tuesday we'll come into practice and we get ready for Perth.
"They're the best, they've been one of the best teams for years in this league and they really don't have a lot of weaknesses.
"We'll prepare for them and go in with a lot of confidence, as we do in every game, and we're looking forward to it."
Ogilvy opened the scoring with a three but it was the visitors who found their range early on, with Sobey nailing three long-range bombs and Gliddon chiming in with another to shoot out to an 18-7 lead and force Flinn into a timeout.
Gliddon grabbed another triple out of the timeout, with Brooks injected into the action. Ogilvy had four points and Coenraad fired from the perimeter on a 9-3 run that forced Lemanis to call time at 24-18.
Brooks showed veteran in drawing back to offensive fouls and Daniel Grida had back to back to baskets to bring the margin back to one at first break.
Brooks had his first triple and a couple from the line to start the second term, while Dave Andersen grabbed five, including his first three to take his side's first lead since the opening minute.
Sobey continued to torment the Hawks from long range, grabbing another three to tie things up at 39 apiece. Ball's steal on Gliddon and follow up slam was the exclamation point of the opening half, taking a 42-39 lead.
Cadee quickly pegged it back with a three before Sobey was tee'd up and sat the remainder of the half with his personal tally at 15 points.
Brooks - who finished with 10 points in the half - and Cadee traded points from the line as the Bullets took a 48-47 lead to the main break.
The Bullets opened the third term with an 11-1 run, Hodgson punctuating the run with two slams in the paint and forcing Flinn into a quick timeout.
It did little to halt the visitors momentum, with Cadee grabbing another triple. Two quick buckets and an and-one play from Brooks kept the Hawks in touch, but the visitors still took a nine-point cushion into the final break.
Brooks and Ball combined to get the Hawks within two with four minutes to play but Patterson ultimately closed the show with six of his side's final eight points, including a game-sealing assist for Sobey.