Brisbane Bullets skipper Daniel Kickert has vowed his players will not "throw in the towel" after their much-hyped NBL comeback season was put on life support by a desperate New Zealand Breakers.
New Breaker's import Kevin Dillard, playing in his third game for the club, pulled off a buzzer-beating fade-away jump shot to almost certainly sink Brisbane's season 84-82 on Sunday afternoon.
Brisbane had led at every change at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and until the last second of the clash.
A despondent Kickert did everything possible to get Brisbane home, finishing with a flawless nine-from-nine shooting display, including four three-pointers.
But he was unable to muster a chance at the winning shot, as Dillard stole the ball off US import Jermaine Beal in the dying seconds.
Mathematically Brisbane can still make the play-offs.
But they would probably need to win four or all of their last five games - four of them against teams in the top five - starting with league leaders Adelaide in Adelaide next Thursday.
"You shouldn't be playing professional sport if you're willing to throw in the towel," declared Kickert after Sunday's loss.
"Even if you are out of it you are a professional sportsman, your job is to come out and play hard and win.
"It doesn't matter if you are 0-20, that 21st loss is still going to sting."
Kickert said he expected his players to come out strongly against Adelaide.
"We've got a good opportunity to turn things around. We've got two games next week. We have to go beat Adelaide in Adelaide and then we've got Melbourne back here," he said.
Breakers coach Paul Henare was keeping a lid on emotions despite the fact the Breakers have found a bit of winning form and some momentum going towards the finals.
"What will be will be, all we can control is what we are doing game by game," he said.
"We are aware we're fighting for a play-off spot."
Dillard chimed in, declaring the Breakers were where they needed to be and were "ready to take care of business".
Like Brisbane, the Breakers face a tough run, with their next two games against Adelaide and Perth.