The JS has their recap here. Alex already posted a far more well thought out recap, but here are my random thoughts from the opener:
- The Bucks took a 41-34 lead midway through the second before the Magic took charge. They outscored the Bucks 49-19 en route to taking an 83-60 lead near the end of the third. Now that's a run.
- It'd be easy to say the Bucks offense looked as one-dimensional as ever, but that would be ignoring the fact that the Bucks' one dimension was actually quite good on offense last year. Against the Magic it didn't seem like Mo or Redd could figure out how to get other guys involved, and there was far too much standing around. While Desmond Mason tried to create some offense, he isn't nearly as effective in doing so as the departed Ruben Patterson. It seems like the Bucks for the past month have assumed they would be able to flip a switch and start scoring when they needed to, but that definitely wasn't the case tonight. I doubt offense will be our main concern when all is said and done, but tonight was by no means encouraging.
- I thought the overall effort in the first half was actually quite good; guys seemed to be working hard, especially on the glass. But even trailing by two at halftime there were signs of trouble. Redd and Simmons each made some very difficult shots in the first half, but aside from a couple nice assists from Bogut the Magic were making the Bucks work for every bucket. Nobody on the Bucks was beating their man and creating open looks for teammates, and when the circus shots dried up in the third quarter the Bucks paid for it. Mo obviously has to step up in that regard: 0 TOs is nice, but 1 assist is not.
- While the Magic were hot from the field in the third, they also were getting pretty decent looks. Not atrocious defense, but not good enough either. The Bucks were allowing the Magic to drive and kick, and their shooters made the Bucks pay for it. The Bucks body language got bad in a hurry.
- It's difficult to imagine the Bucks are really envisioning Bogut's role being as limited as it was tonight. Only a couple post touches and otherwise some scattered looks from the outside, where he did manage some nice passes, but in general he was about as peripheral as ever. My hope is that LK simply looked at the matchup and figured they wouldn't get a whole lot out of the post. Bogut can do well down low against undersized players, but Howard is simply too physical for Bogut to get good looks most of the time, and Bogut's wrist being injured probably didn't make it any easier. Expect to see a concerted effort to get him involved on Friday against the Bobcats, against whom Bogut had his career-high in points last season.
- Bogut actually defended Howard well in one-on-one situations, but in the second quarter Howard attacked Gadzuric and then Van Gundy smartly called a couple screen plays that isolated Yi against the much larger Howard. Dwight only finished 4-9 from the field, but drew fouls and made his free throws.
- Howard's biggest impact was on defense, where he was a constant presence when the Bucks got in the paint. He doesn't have a well-developed post game, but he's so dominant rebounding and altering shots that it doesn't matter much.It got almost comical watching Mo Williams and Desmond Mason drive to the hoop and then look up to see Howard swatting their shots into the first row.
- Yi looked very comfortable offensively and may be more valuable on that end than expected if the Bucks continue to struggle creating offense. Defensively it was kind of feast or famine: he showed his length on a couple blocks and was very active overall, but also showed his inexperience getting suckered into fouls by Turkoglu and Keyon Dooling. The Bucks seemed a little eager to switch on pick/rolls, leaving him on the perimeter guarding smaller players a number of times. He actually played a little better than I expected considering the circumstances.
- Simmons was a very pleasant surprise off the bench, and looks much better than Desmond Mason right now. I assume the only reason Mason will continue to start is for defensive reasons (Simmons still being a step slow) and to give Bobby more chances to score with the second unit. But even if Mason starts I have to think Bobby will be closing out games assuming his foot isn't a problem.
- Charlie Villanueva was in shooting mode coming off the bench but just looked totally out of sync. His outside shot wasn't falling and his drives were also ineffective. He was aggressive on the glass, but didn't do anything to suggest he's going to be taking Yi's spot in the starting lineup.
- Michael Ruffin looked solid guarding Howard in spot minutes. He might not play every night, but he'll be a valuable guy to have considering the foul trouble Yi will probably get into.