Brandon Miller had his best scoring game of the season in the Hornets’ loss to the Knicks. And, Steve Clifford was happy with his progress.
The Charlotte Hornets dropped their fourth straight game after losing to the New York Knicks 122-108. They shot better from the field and from 3-point range on the second end of a back-to-back, but they just couldn’t come up with stops to get this game close. On a brighter note, however, the Hornets’ second overall pick from the 2023 NBA Draft shined. Brandon Miller had his best game yet as a pro, scoring a career-high 29 points in the loss.
Miller and LaMelo Ball combined for 63 of the Hornets points on Saturday night.
Steve Clifford reflected upon the loss, but highlighted Miller’s career night as well.
“He does it the right way – he works, he practices, he’s very bright, he picks things up quickly, he’s got a great attitude. He also has a natural feel for the game. He knows where the ball should go, he shoots when he should shoot, he passes when people are open. They all like to play with him. He’s not like a rookie, especially not like a 21-year-old. He has a very mature game,” Clifford shared.
Through 10 games, Miller has only scored in the single digits once. He continues to score at an efficient clip and takes smart shots around the rim or the perimeter. If nothing’s there, he’ll move the ball around to find the best shot possible. He doesn’t force anything.
Brandon Miller on why he was able to score at ease
Miller’s game has improved albeit just 10 short games into his NBA career. He credits his teammates for all his success, though.
“I felt like my teammates put me in the right positions to take 3-pointers and have the confidence to take shots like that in a game like this, so I think it was just my teammates building my confidence,” Brandon Miller shared.
Playing with LaMelo Ball already makes life easier for anyone, let alone a rookie. Getting Miles Bridges back in the mix adds another guy who can also go out and get a bucket. So Miller was able to take advantage of a lot of easy opportunities to score. Catch and shoot, cutting to the basket, or one dribble pull-ups were nearly automatic for him. Miller was 66.7 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from deep.
The Hornets could use another performance like that in their next game against the Boston Celtics. The Knicks are one of the highest-rated defensive teams in the NBA, but so are the Celtics. It could be another good test for the rookie.