"The disappointing thing to me is, night to night I don't know what I'm going to get," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I think maybe some of the people watching our games night to night are wondering what in the heck am I doing.
"Sometimes I wonder," Collins added, "because I can't find answers. It's not like I'm not trying."
Despite their coach's efforts, the Sixers lost for the 14th time in their last 18 games. The Hornets set the tone with their highest-scoring first quarter of the season (35 points), achieved by making 16 of 21 shots. Their 53 percent shooting for the game (44 of 83) fell just short of their season's best (53.8).
The Sixers' perimeter defense, which has been absent for much of the season, slept through another contest. The Hornets connected on 10 of 18 shots from behind the three-point line.
"To come out with that kind of energy, we haven't had a lot of those nights," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "This is a major step for us and it says a lot about our team."
It was a surprising and unexpected effort by the Sixers, especially coming on the heels of a nice win over Houston on Saturday that ended a five-game losing streak.
"I didn't see this coming," said Jrue Holiday, who led the Sixers with 29 points and 11 assists. "I actually thought we were going to win the game today."
Collins said that despite the inconsistent effort, he does not believe he is losing the team.
"You're kidding me, right?" Collins said. "The answer to that is no."
Nick Young led a Sixers rally in the fourth quarter when they reduced a 20-point lead to eight. He scored all 14 of his points in the quarter, the only period in which he played.
In winning for the fifth time in their last six games, the Hornets were led by Greivis Vasquez's 23 points and nine assists. Eric Gordon, who missed the first game between the teams, finished with 19 points. Ryan Anderson added 14 points and nine rebounds.
Contact John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.