The Illawarra Hawks may have only had a half a pre-season campaign, but you'd hardly have known when they blew Adelaide away in the season opener on Sunday.
Two of the Hawks' four NBL Blitz games were cancelled due to COVID scares, though they were still unbeaten after overpowering Melbourne United and South East Melbourne.
Whatever momentum they built carried nicely into their clash with the 36ers, after taking control from midway through the second quarter, before running out 81-71 winners.
Olympics bronze medallist Duop Reath made his presence felt with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Justinian Jessup had 17 points and four steals, Tyler Harvey finished with 15 points, five assists and five steals and Canadian guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes was impressive on debut with 15 points off the bench.
The Hawks won the third quarter by 11, setting up a 16-point advantage for the final term, as they not only made more shots, but simply worked harder than their opponents.
Antonius Cleveland took precious little time to announce himself to the NBL, making a delicious reverse dunk off a fast-break for his first score in Hawks colours.
The Hawks were up and running early, but went cold late in the first quarter as Adelaide launched a 10-2 run to take a 16-13 lead at quarter-time.
But the turnovers started hurting an Adelaide team coming off an opening game loss to Perth on Friday.
The 36ers had 12 turnovers by half-time and it helped the Hawks re-establish their early advantage, leading 40-35 at half-time.