LaMelo Ball broke ankles but Brisbane broke hearts by claiming a 90-81 win against Illawarra in their NBL season opener in Wollongong.
Flashy moves and highlight plays headlined Sunday's match, with likely NBA top-five draft pick Ball pleasing fans by showcasing his sweet skills as he helped to keep the Hawks in the contest.
Teenage guard Ball finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in his keenly awaited NBL debut, though he shot only a moderate six of 17 from the field.
The Hawks' ex-NBA veteran guard Aaron Brooks supplied most of his team's scoring thrust with a game-high 24 points against a well-drilled Bullets outfit.
Rookie Hawks coach Matt Flinn believed his new-look team showed plenty to be encouraged by.
"I feel like tonight was just one of those nights. We shot 16 per cent from three; 64 per cent from the free throw line. I don't think that's going to happen again," said Flinn.
"We're all getting to understand each other, understand when we need to get a good bucket and when we need to run.
"It bodes well for where we're going. We're happy with where we're at, we have got a great bunch of guys and we're really together. We just need to fix up a few little things, execution-wise.
"Both Aaron and LaMelo are enormous talents. It's a matter of us playing with two different tempos.
"Those two guys are natural scorers - we certainly have a lot of belief in them."
Teamwork was the key for a red-hot Brisbane side, with Nathan Sobey (17), Lamar Patterson (25) and Matt Hodgson (14) all putting up big numbers.
"We shared the ball, we had 21 assists and everyone was engaged," said Brisbane coach Andre Lemanis.
"We stayed unified when things went against us, and there was no splintering in the group".
A quick 12-0 run to open the third quarter by Brisbane proved decisive with the Hawks not able to claw their way back into the game.