Jacob Jackomas cut a frustrated figure after his brave Illawarra Hawks succumbed 96-84 to Melbourne United on Sunday.
The Hawks coach felt his team was on track to upset the NBL leaders but let themselves down with some poor discipline, especially in defence.
Jackomas was disappointed his team was "spanked" on the glass, out-rebounded 49-24.
The Hawks he said would have to be much better on the galss when they face Sydney Kings at home next Friday night.
Jackomas also made a thinly veiled criticism of the officiating but stated that wasn't the reason they lost to Melbourne.
He did however state the Hawks had sought clarification from the NBL referees boss as to why they were being called for so many fouls.
Melbourne went to the three-throw line 24 times as opposed to the Hawks who made only 11 trips to the line.
Nevertheless the Hawks were on track to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season when the visitors led by five points at quarter time and by as much as 10 midway through the second term.
But Illawarra had no answer to the suffocating defence of the league's best defensive team, especially in the final quarter where the Hawks were outscored 25-15.
"I thought our discipline was poor. At stages we lost our minds. That will be the number one thing that we are trying to address right now.....maybe we are a bit too passionate and sort of lose our way," Jackomas said after the game.
"Today for the first time we really got spanked on the glass, which is something we've actually been pretty good at.
"But we are competing, we are right there. We do have to be a bit careful with a bit of belief but i think we will be alright in that space, we usually are.
"At the end of the day now we've played Melbourne twice. Now we've got a challenge coming up against Sydney.
"I'm by no means happy, definitely disappointed in the guys but optimistic that we are getting better .....but we are getting better and worse at the same time if you know what I mean."
Player of the match Chris Goulding again hurt the Hawks big-time, with his match-high 33 points including seven three-pointers from 13 shots behind the arc.
United were missing gun import Ian Clark but still had too much firepower, especially inside with big man Jo Lual-Acuil Jr (9 points and 9 rebounds) proving too hot to handle.
Gary Clark (24 points) came up big for the Hawks, especially early where he made all six shots he took but Clark only made five of his next 15 shots in the second half.
Justin Robinson was the next best for the Hawks, with 20 points, four rebounds and nine assists.
Things looked good for the Hawks early as that man Tyler Harvey, fresh from his buzzer-beating three point winner against Cairns, drilled a three-point bomb after 20 seconds to give his team and early 3-0.
Harvey was at it again at the end of the first quarter, hitting another three-pointer to see the Hawks head to the first break 29-24 to the good.
Harvey finished the term with six points from two of three shooting but it was Clark who led the Hawks in scoring with eight points.
Illawarra guard Robinson (5 points) and Sam Froling (4) were also big in the first quarter, with the latter also getting a late steal and assist which led to Harvey's three-pointer to give the Hawks the five-point lead.
It was perhaps the best quarter under a Jacob Jackomas-coached Hawks outfit.
The Hawks started the second period well as well and at various stages in the half led by as many as 10 points but it was United who went to the half-time break in front 52-51.
Goulding again hurt the Hawks, leading all scorers at the half with 21 points, making seven of his nine shots, including five from seven three-pointers.
A three from Goulding and another by Melbourne guard Flint Cameron saw Illawarra's 46-36 lead reduced to only five with three minutes of the half remaining.
United closed out the half with a 19-8 run to lead by one at the half.
Jackomas' team shot the ball well from inside (17/28) and outside the three-point (5/10) arc but were out-rebounded 21-10 by Melbourne.
Clark (16 points) and Robinson (12 points, four rebounds and four assists) were huge for the visitors in the first half.
Froling (9 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Harvey (8 points) were also good for Illawarra.
The Hawks held tough in the third quarter but it was the league leading United who led 71-69 heading into the final quarter.
Hyunjung Lee and Todd Blanchfield knocked crucial threes to keep their team in the game.
United though dominated through their defence in the final term with the Hawks missing their first five shots and not scoring a basket until Lee hit a two with just over seven minutes to go.
Illawarra got as close as five points midway through the final term but when Lachlan Olbrich fouled out with 4.34 minutes left on the clock, United led by double figures.
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