The search continues.
The Hawks are reeling and at a loss for answers as they dropped their fourth straight game with a 105-90 defeat to the Hornets on Monday at Spectrum Center. The Hawks were without injured starters Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore as the limp down the final stretch of the regular season. They are 0-5 this season without Millsap, including two straight defeats. Millsap is out with left knee tightness and Bazemore is out with a right knee bone bruise.
The Hawks tried several combinations of players to make up for the missing starters. None worked. The Hornets led by as many as 23 points, an advantage that started when the Hawks began to substitute in the first quarter.
The Hawks (37-33) have lost all three games with the Hornets this season. Their hold on fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings is slipping.
Dennis Schroder led five Hawks, all starters, in double-digit scoring with 20 points. He was followed by Ersan Ilyasova and Dwight Howard with 13 points each and Thabo Sefolosha and Tim Hardaway Jr. with 11 points each. Howard had 10 rebounds, his 12th straight game with double-digit boards. The Hawks bench totaled just six points with less than six minutes to play and finished with 22 points. Taurean Prince had 11 of the reserve points.
The Hornets (31-39) won their second straight game. Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points apiece.
The Hornets took a 51-42 lead into halftime. The Hawks jumped out early and led by as eight points in the first quarter. However, the Hornets went on a 27-6 run between the first and second quarters to lead by as many as 13 points. During the run, the Hawks were 3 of 12 from the field with five turnovers.
The Hornets pushed their advantage to as many as 19 points in the third quarter and took an 83-68 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead increased to 23 points with an 8-0 run to start the final period.