In a tough campaign, the Hawks have needed a spark. They've found one in recent times in the form of Deng Deng. As Illawarra's season continues to slip away, with their record now standing at an abysmal 2-18, the 203-centimetre forward has provided much-needed enthusiasm and energy off the bench. Deng has averaged 8.25 points and 6.75 rebounds per game in 2022/23, but has seemed to find a new level in his past three outings. The 30-year-old mustered a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) against the Wildcats on New Year's Eve before scoring seven points and six boards against Cairns two days later. Read more: Frazier ruled out for rest of Illawarra's season However, Deng bounced back from that relatively quite outing to put in an explosive performance against Adelaide on Friday night, managing 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists. It was arguably Deng's best performance since returning to Wollongong in June, following a one-season stint at the Bullets. And it hasn't escaped the attention of his coach, Jacob Jackomas. "He's matured so much as a player since the last time we had him. I think if we were in this position last time, he'd be taking some wild shots," he said. "He's actually trying to be good role player and he picks his spots, so today [Friday] was a really good game for Deng. But the big evolution for Deng is what he's doing when he's not scoring. "Not every game, but Deng has done a good job on the glass, and kept his composure. He's faded a bit [at times], but he's doing a really good job that way and playing really good minutes for us." Read more: Harvey vows to keep fighting despite Hawks' disastrous campaign The Hawks will return to the floor to face the JackJumpers at WIN Entertainment Centre on Tuesday night, following a four-day break since the defeat in Adelaide. It shapes as a crucial clash for Illawarra, who are desperately looking to snap an eight-game losing streak, while Tasmania will hope to strengthen their top four position with victory.. Ahead of the game, Jackomas said his players had enjoyed the chance to recharge. "These guys are conditioned to play games, but rest is our friend right now. And it's about getting away from each other for a little bit and re-setting," he said. "Then we'll see what we can do in front of our home fans [on Tuesday]." We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on the Illawarra Mercury website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. Sign up for a subscription here. To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app in the Apple Store or Google Play.