Illawarra has copped a clip from one of its most celebrated greats, with Damon Lowery issuing a blunt ultimatum to his former club following a fourth-quarter capitulation against Adelaide on Saturday.
The Hawks led by as much as 13 in the third quarter, and six at three-quarter-time, only for Adelaide Next Star Trentyn Flowers to explode with 18 points in a 35-20 final term that saw the Sixers home.
The 89-80 defeat saw the Hawks fall to 1-3 on the year and saved the Sixers from a disastrous 0-5 start, with Lowery telling the NBL Now podcast that coach Jacob Jackomas needs to deliver some "really hard truths" to his new-look roster.
"It's time to grab a couple of those dudes by the scruff and say 'listen here fellas, you tried' but they reverted back to themselves - the worst version of themselves," Lowery said
"It's like they can't get out of their own way. They went hard for the first half and I thought I had never seen this team play like that before. With discipline, with offensive execution, with no craziness.
"Then all of a sudden as soon as the game was kind of there to be won, when it got tight, they defaulted back to their old ways and those ways are not going to get any wins. It's time for some really hard truths.
"I know they want to come out in press conferences, say the right things, circle the wagons - I get all of that - but behind closed doors there had better be some scruffing of some collars going on, because this has got to stop."
The pair of road losses see the Hawks looking to atone back in Wollongong against high-flying Melbourne United on Friday.
They'll back up six days later on their home floor against Cairns, ahead of a return clash with United in Melbourne and a return to the WEC to take on Sydney.
It's a crucial stretch but Jackomas says it's far too early in the campaign for panic.
"With the league right now, we're one or two wins away from being right there," Jackomas said.
"All we need to do is just worry about the next one and build on it and not go backwards. That's what was the most disappointing thing about the Tasmania game.
"The Kings game was OK, we thought we played well against South East and went into the Tassie game pretty confident and we got our pants pulled down.
"We played well against Adelaide, without winning. We've got to show a bit of hunger and show a bit of discipline.
"I know it's all cliche, but that's where we're at right now, but if we start to be scared and worried about the end result of the season, we're going to fail."
Jackomas insists he hasn't felt the need to stress any extra importance with his players on Friday's clash with United.
"If you're coming from that kind of road trip and not fired up then we shouldn't be playing it right now," he said.
"There is some motivation in coaching, but you're coaching professionals, you're coaching adults, they need to turn up and do their jobs.
"These guys are adults, they really care and I think what you're seeing is they're probably trying to do too much individually.
"On the odd possession here and there they'll know when I'm angry, but changing your mood or approach completely to try and get a reaction, I don't think works too much."
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