A clutch three-point dagger from Illawarra star Tyler Harvey has delivered the Hawks a tense 71-66 victory over the Adelaide 36ers in Wollongong.
Illawarra were up by one with a minute to play on Tuesday night when Harvey shook off his defender to nail his game-sealing sixth trey of an enthralling contest.
The American finished the night with a game-high 23 points on 7-17 shooting, including 6-12 from long range, to go with seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Fellow import Justin Simon also had another strong defensive game while filling up the box score with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.
All five Sixers starters were held to single digits, with bench duo Tony Crocker (16 points) and Jack Mcveigh the only players to score more than nine points.
But Connor Henry's side cruelled themselves by turning the ball over 24 times, which resulted in a crucial 10-point disadvantage in points from turnovers.
Illawarra remain one spot outside the top four in fifth, but join the third-placed Sydney Kings and fourth-placed South East Melbourne with identical 14-14 records.
While it was their lowest winning total of the season, Hawks coach Brian Goorjian said his team had finally uncovered a formula that could give them the impetus they need to crack the top four.
"It was the start of the Sydney game, we really started to pick up the defensive end of the floor," Goorjian said.
"Everybody talked (about how) it was a rugged game (against New Zealand) in Tasmania. It wasn't pretty, but we defended, we kept the opposition in the 60s after they'd just beaten Perth.
"You've got a team (Adelaide) coming in here playing for their lives with a full roster and they'd just beaten Sydney. And we got that done tonight."
Adelaide, who entered the clash as arguably the hottest team in the league with three straight wins, are now two wins behind the logjam with one month left in the season.
"We just need to win one game and keep in the hunt," Henry said of his side, who trailed by as much as 13 points after the first quarter but recovered to lead by four points at halftime.
"I know we haven't been eliminated yet. My high-level Santa Barbara maths ... we're in this thing. Let's go. Let's keep fighting every day."