Dennis Schroder benched after Dwight Howard tiff: 'Don't understand Coach's decision'

ATLANTA -- Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder was yanked early in the third quarter of Monday night's 119-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors after arguing with Dwight Howard about an errant pass.

While the two were angrily exchanging words, the Warriors got the ball to Stephen Curry for an open 3-pointer.

Coach Mike Budenholzer wound up sending Schroder to the bench with 8:41 to go in the third, even though he led the Hawks with 23 points. The 23-year-old German never returned, merely a spectator as Atlanta took its sixth loss in eight games to slip further back in the Eastern Conference standings.

Afterward, Schroder sounded miffed about getting benched.

"I don't understand Coach's decision," he said. "Maybe I'm too competitive, I don't know. I'm just trying to be competitive, trying to win games. But I don't get that one."

Budenholzer was tight-lipped, calling it a "coaching decision."

"We need to learn to play together and stay together for 48 minutes," he said. "That's something that's very important to us."

Schroder has run into other problems in his first year as a Hawks starter. After the All-Star break, he was late reporting back to the team and served a one-game suspension. Then, the next night, he was late for the team bus and came off the bench for a game at Orlando.

Now it looks as if he might be headed for a summit with Budenholzer and Howard.

"We've got to figure it out, me and Coach," Schroder said. "I want to talk about it. Dwight's got to be in there, too. Get on the same page. Then we're going to be all right."

Howard downplayed the incident and said he looks forward to smoothing things over with his teammate.

"It happens during the course of the game," he said. "It just cost us a 3. It's something that we've got to make sure we nip it in the bud quick and move on to the next play."

Disagreements are bound to pop up during the course of the season, Howard said.

"Listen, we're a team," he said. "It's OK if we have conversations. It's not always conflict when you have a conversation with your coach or a team meeting. That's what you're supposed to do. So by him wanting to have a meeting and talk, it's great. It's great for our team. It's great for each other. We're all open to it."

Schroder's benching came after he got off to a magnificent start against the Warriors. He scored 19 points in the first quarter -- his most ever in a period -- and knocked down four shots beyond the 3-point arc. By the half, he had 23 points and seemed on his way to setting a career high.

He didn't get the chance.

Schroder conceded that he should have waited until a timeout or dead ball to raise his concerns with Howard instead of bickering in the middle of the court.

"They got a 3 right out of it," he said. "I've got to do better."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.