Hornets’ Steve Clifford on Brandon Miller’s debut: ‘He competes so naturally’

Brandon Miller found himself in early foul trouble on Wednesday, but the third pick bounced back with a strong second half to help the Charlotte Hornets to a win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Miller had just three points at halftime after picking up three early fouls. He returned after the intermission and hit some clutch shots in the fourth quarter of his debut to give the Hornets the lead and pull out the 116-110 victory at Spectrum Center.

The 20-year-old scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, including two crucial 3-pointers in the final six minutes that put the Hornets ahead for good.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford was pleased with his effort.

You can see tonight where he is not like most guys his age. He gets in foul trouble in the first half, which some guys wouldn’t be able to come back. He had a couple of calls that could have gone his way and didn’t, and then he made huge, huge plays in the fourth quarter. If you watch him, he has got great self-confidence. He competes so naturally, and that’s the way he is in practice every day.

Miller was praised throughout training camp by Clifford and the rest of the team for how he can affect games with his overall skill set. He has often performed as a player well beyond his years, and that stood out to Clifford in their season opener.

Though some shots didn’t fall for him, Miller stayed active on defense and kept the offense moving by finding open teammates and making the right plays.

But hitting those clutch 3s late was a good moment for him.

“I had a lot of fun when both of them went through the net,” Miller said. “I think the crowd loved it. I was just enjoying the moments with my teammates, but getting the win was the best part.”

Miller gave the Hornets a strong lift off of the bench, which is likely a preview of how he’ll be able to contribute this season. Despite getting into early foul trouble, he found ways to help his team pick up the win and begin the year 1-0.

Now that his first official game is in the books, Miller believes he’ll really be able to settle in on the court and get his rookie campaign underway with the Hornets.

“I definitely haven’t settled in yet,” Miller said. “I think tonight it is probably going to settle in when I go to sleep. I’m definitely going to feel it tomorrow morning, but I think I just gotta come in here, work hard and get better.”

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire