Illawarra remain in a pitched battle to see post-season action after falling short of the Breakers, 88-85, in a thriller across the ditch.
In a game of endless back and forth the Breakers no doubt felt a terrifying sense of deja vu when Tyler Harvey pulled up from the Hungry Jacks logo on the final play of the game.
Unlike Harvey's memorable trip the same venue last season, the shot rimmed out, seeing New Zealand hold on for a three-point win and leapfrog the Hawks into fourth spot.
With key big-man Anthony Lamb missing, it was the back court that did the damage for the hosts, Parker Jackson-Cartwright with a huge 31 points and seven assists to steer his team to victory.
In the end it was a key turnover from Justin Robinson on a key in-bound pass with 15 seconds left that proved the telling play, opening the door for Zylan Cheatham to go coast-to-coast for an open slam and two-score lead.
The Hawks gave themselves a sniff on with an alley-oop slam to Gary Clark with 12 seconds left, Cheatham's subsequent 1-2 from the line giving Harvey a final Hail Mary he couldn't make drop.
"I thought it was in," Harvey said post-game.
"It was a good look, pretty straight. I'm always going back myself to shoot and make those shots. My teammates do as well, but it was just unfortunate tonight it didn't get that bounce.
"It's definitely a tough one. We know what's at stake and, with what we've been through throughout this whole year, we knew how important this game would be to solidify our chance to be in that playoff playoff spot.
"It's definitely tough, but there's no time really for us to sulk about it. We've got another tough game against a team (Sydney) that's fighting as well, just like New Zealand is. We've got to watch film onto the next game."
Justin Tatum's side drops to fifth on the ladder at 12-13 on the campaign and needing to beat sixth-placed Sydney in what shapes as a mouth-watering battle between the arch-rivals at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
A loss would see the Hawks needing to beat top two teams Perth and Melbourne United in their final two outings to punch a post-season ticket.
Hawks pay for first half wobbles
Despite leading by a point at halftime, the Hawks just could not get it to drop in the opening half. The visitors were 15-41 from the field, and a lowly 3-12 from long-range.
Harvey was 3-10 for his nine points, and inexplicably missed a pair from the line in the first quarter. Gary Clark was 1-4 from the field for his two points through two quarters, with Froling's 11 points six rebounds and three assists keeping the Hawks in front at the break.
The Breakers were far more efficient, going 16-34 and a red-hot 7-12 from three-point range. McDowell White was 3-3 from deep and Mantas Rubtaviius 2-2.
Harvey got going in the fourth quarter, burying a deep three to cut the margin back to two with less than a minute to play to finish with 22 points but paid for a slow start.
Clark also left his run late, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Sam Froling had a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Robinson had 14 points and four assists on his return to the starting line-up, but was left ruing the final in-bound play.
"Any game that you lose when you have a team on their heels like that and you go about five or six points with five minutes to go [is disappointing]," Tatum said.
"Basketball is game of runs and New Zealand went on the run at the right time and got the better end of it, so it was a tough loss for us.
"I don't ever think I have anything in control until the game is over and we have to win. These guys are professionals, there was too much time on the clock, guys have the ability to make shots.
"New Zealand made their runs right on time at the right point. We did as well to get back into the game, because we were down about eight or nine points at one time.
"It makes it frustrating, but we've got to bounce back and get ready for the next one.
Breakers back court fire in Lamb absence
The Hawks had 48 points in the paint and pulled down 16 offensive rebounds with the Breakers down a key big, but they couldn't find an answer to home-side pair Jackson-Cartwright and Will McDowell-White in transition.
Jackson-Cartwright stuffed the sheet with 31 points and seven dimes, while McDowell-White had 16 points at 4-6 from deep, with three assists.
Rubtaviius (13) and Cheatham (12) both cracked double digits, but it was Jackson-Cartwright who ultimately put his team on his back.
"Our defensive trans wasn't up to par, allowing PJC and some of those guys to keep getting downhill," Tatum said.
"Their fast-break points were 21 to six. We tip our hat off on being a fast-break team and trying to score in transition and it was just the total opposite today.
"Our turnovers were at the wrong time, even though there was a low number, they came at the wrong time. It's just things you've got to fight through and we'll live and learn."
Derbies don't come bigger
It doesn't take a whole lot to ignite a Hawks-Kings game, but regular-season clashes between the Freeway Series rivals don't come much bigger than Sunday's showdown on the Kings' floor.
It's a trip the Hawks have already successfully made this season, spoiling the two-time defending champions' Christmas party earlier this year. With both teams desperate to keep playoff chances alive, the chance to do so at the other's expense makes for a all-out brawl at Homebush.