Hornets handle Hawks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nicolas Batum and Kemba Walker led a balanced attack with 16 points apiece, and the Charlotte Hornets continued their mastery of the Atlanta Hawks with a 105-90 victory on Monday night at the Spectrum Center.
The Hornets have beaten the Hawks all three times the teams have met this season.
The Hornets (31-39) opened the second quarter with a 15-2 spurt and led the rest of the way. Their biggest lead was 23 points.
Charlotte won its second straight and is in the middle of a favorable stretch in the schedule where it could make up some ground in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Hornets entered the night 11th in the conference, and they now trail No. 8 Detroit by three games with 12 games remaining.
Batum was 5 of 8 from the field on a night when the Hornets shot 50 percent from the field. Walker was 6 of 16 with four 3-pointers.
The Hornets also got 14 points from Frank Kaminsky, 13 points and eight rebounds from Marvin Williams, 12 points from Jeremy Lamb, nine points from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and eight points apiece from Cody Zeller and Briante Weber.
Kidd-Gilchrist sprained an ankle and sat out the fourth quarter.
The Hawks (37-33) lost their fifth straight. They were without starters Paul Millsap (knee) and Kent Bazemore (knee), and they missed both dearly.
Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 20 points. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova also scored 13, and Thabo Sefalosha, Taurean Prince and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 11 points each.
The teams were tied 19-19 after one quarter. The Hornets then led 51-42 at halftime and 83-68 after three quarters.
NOTES: Hawks G Mike Dunleavy (ankle) was active after missing the previous 10 games, but he did not play. ... The Hornets were without G Ramon Sessions (knee), C Miles Plumlee (calf) and F Johnny O'Bryant (ankle). ... The Hornets signed G Briante Weber to a multiyear contract. Weber had previously signed two 10-day contracts and worked his way into the rotation. ... The Hornets are now 9-3 within the Southeast Division, which is the best record in the division. ... The Hornets won 100-96 in Charlotte on Nov. 18 and 107-99 in Atlanta on Dec. 17. The teams will meet one more time, in Atlanta on April 11. ... The Hawks were opening a three-game road trip. They will play at Washington on Wednesday. ... The Hornets will play at Orlando on Wednesday.