Illawarra coach Jacob Jackomas says his offensively stacked side can't tackle it's "biggest challenge" until it gets its defensive act together after again conceding near a hundred points on Sunday.
The Hawks looked to have turned a defensive corner in keeping Cairns to 83 points in Wollongong last Thursday, but were back to their old ways in giving up 96 points in Sunday's defeat to Melbourne United.
It came after a 29-point opening term in which they quickly found their offensive groove, while they trailed by just two at three-quarter-time before hosts found a defensive gear the Hawks couldn't match in the final term. It's been the story of their campaign, which sank to 2-5 on the back of the defeat heading into Friday's home clash with Sydney in Wollongong.
"Our biggest problem overall is just figuring each other out," Jackomas said.
"It's taking a lot longer than we thought. I thought J-Rob played three really good quarters and then the fourth, it wasn't his normal self. Fitting Tyler into that [is difficult] and there's a lot of guys with offensive mindsets right now.
"In regard to where HJ (Hyunjung Lee) fits, where Toddy [Blanchfield] fits in the scheme of things, then obviously Sam (Froling) and Lachie (Olbrich), there's a bunch of guys in that space. That is our biggest challenge, we haven't nailed it yet, but we're also relying on it too much.
"Again, 96 points is too many, so we're relying too much on something that we haven't nailed yet. There was some good [things], but at stages we just didn't get a big stop when we needed it.
"We need to fix the defensive end up every game. Then eventually, if we're going to fulfill our potential, the offense will come."
"Even though I'm not happy defensively, we've gotten better," Jackomas said.
"I thought at the beginning of the year we took some weird shots. I think we're a much more settled basketball team, I think we know how to find each other. I think we've [still] got a long way to go, but I think we're much more settled.
"For three quarters [on Sunday], I thought we were really settled. I do think we have improved a lot in that space, but it's professional sport. It's not an improving league, it's not a development league, it's about winning and we should be, now, desperate to win."
Jackomas is expecting to have star import Gary Clark on deck for the Kings clash despite a back injury that briefly forced him to the bench against United.
"No one's said anything different to me," Jackomas, who endured a horror run on the import injury front last season, said.
"I try not to ask anymore about imports when they fall over. Unless they tell me [something], then I'll let you know, but I don't want to know about it [otherwise]."
Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.