Illawarra have fallen short in their bid for consecutive wins, slumping to a 103-86 loss to the Bullets in Wollongong on Saturday.
The Hawks trailed by two at halftime and six at three-quarter-time but clearly ran out of gas down the stretch, giving up 30 points to a Bullets side that's found its groove since a 46-point hammering at the hands of Sydney three weeks ago.
It was the Hawks first double-digit defeat since New Years' Eve, with a run of six-straight single-digit losses and last gasp win over the Breakers last start appearing to take its toll in the final term, with skipper Tyler Harvey admitting his side had "no pop" post-game.
"We just didn't make plays tonight, we just didn't have it," Harvey said.
"It was one of those ones where we were a little bit flat. It's not an excuse, coming in off such an emotional game, everyone flying in, we just didn't have it tonight and we knew we were going to have to against them.
"They're such a talented team, they have guards that can go, they have bigs that can go, and they just got the better of us tonight.
"I feel like we've been trending in the right direction, coach has got us focused on each and every game, what we have to do to compete and give ourselves a chance.
"Challenges are just going to throw themselves our way, whatever they may be. Tonight was a different challenge and we didn't step up to the plate and get it done.
"That's just how it goes, we move on from it, we learn from it and we get better for the next one."
Harvey had 16 points in the first half but could add just six through the final two terms to finish with 22, while Dan Grida had nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter in a desperate bid to spark his side.
He also had five rebounds and three steals in a typically energetic performance, while Deng Deng continued his consistent campaign with 13 points and six rebounds and Mangok Mathiang had 10 points and five boards.
Aron Baynes was the target early for the visitors and finished with 15 points and six rebounds, but Tyler Johnson was the true destroyer with 23 points at 7-12 from the field including 3-5 from deep.
Andrew White III had 13 of his 18 points in the first half, with Jason Cadee the other Bullet in double digits with 12 points.
It leaves the Hawks still searching for back-to-back wins this campaign ahead of a tough, but final, road trip to Perth on Friday, with their final two outings coming on their home floor.
Baynes was the early target for the visitors with six points, while White III also had six for a 14-11 lead that saw Jackomas call timeout.
Johnson had his first three and transition bucket from White III was the first mini-break as the Bullets led by five, though it was quickly pegged back by Harvey's second triple.
Back to back buckets to Harry Froling gave the hosts a six-point cushion before Swaka Lo Buluk closed it to four on the quarter-time buzzer.
He had his first three to start the second before Mathiang was teed up over a questionable foul call on Baynes, that saw Cadee re-take the lead from the line.
Coenraad took it straight back with three from the line but White III fired back from deep to take his tally to 13. Coenraad continued the shooting duel with another to keep the scores locked midway through the term.
Deng and Harvey followed up from deep to take a three-point lead and force Geg Vanderjagt into a timeout.
Deng kept his momentum rolling, with a couple more from the line, his second three and step-back from mid-range for a four-point lead a minute before the break.
Johnson and Harvey traded pairs from the line before Baynes dropped the final five of the term, including his first triple, to see the hosts lead 50-48 at halftime.
Baynes had the first two of the third on an 9-2 run, punctuated by Cadee's first three, that gave the visitors a nine-point lead.
A successful Hawks challenge to an offensive foul on Mathiang saw his drive to the basket count, with Dent adding a couple more from the line with the Hawks in the bonus less than halfway through the term.
White III's second triple gave the Bullets an eight-point cushion and prompted Jackomas to burn a timeout.
Cadee took the first double-digit lead from the line on the resumption but it was back to just four on an and-one from Mathiang and a steal and slam from Grida. Johnson had six straight points for his side to hold onto a six-point buffer at the final break.
Sobey and Grida traded threes to start the fourth, but an 10-5 run from the Bullets saw the lead back beyond double digits and Jackomas forced to burn an early timeout.
Grida had seven but Hawks could find no answer for Johnson, who had nine as the lead ballooned to 15 with five minutes to play. It was junk time from there.
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