Normally our recaps are meant to bring you some level of insight, but that's kinda tough when the game isn't on TV or the radio. So instead we're left to sit around and overreact to the box score (which I'm happy to do). Jim Paschke was kind enough to post some video at Bucks.com (above), and after the jump are some of my generic thoughts.
Skiles' reactions. As you can imagine, he was thrilled.
"We have a lot of work to do.
"We weren’t sharp. We didn’t shoot the ball well, our ball movement wasn’t good, our defense was terrible. We had no answer for how physical they were.
"They had much more intensity. You could feel it in the first four, five minutes of the game that we were going to have to pick up our level of play, and we never did."
Forwards. It stands to reason that the Bucks will want at least some perimeter shooting from their starting forward combination, which suggests that either Ersan Ilyasova starts at the 4 or Carlos Delfino starts at the 3. All summer I've preferred the idea of starting Mbah a Moute and Ilyasova at the 3/4 spots, if for no other reason than both players are young and might amount to more than solid bench players...which is what Hakim Warrick and Delfino have more or less established themselves as throughout their careers.
Well, mark one down for the low-upside veterans. Warrick scored 24 on just eight FGA, making 12/15 from the stripe. He's one of only a few players on the roster (Redd...maybe Bogut and Jennings?) who can occasionally create their own offense, so he's certainly going to be getting minutes every night. The question then becomes whether he's best used with the starters or as a reserve who's expected to help carry the second unit offensively. He's never proven he can reliably defend starting PFs, so that's the other big question.
None of the other forwards put up a nice box score line tonight, though we know how useless the box score is for assessing Mbah a Moute's game. Ilyasova fouled out in 13 minutes, so that's a bit of a red flag--he needs to re-adapt quickly to the way the NBA game is called, because it looks like he just got completely bullied by Kevin Love in the game's first few minutes.
- Big Guns Play Sparingly. Bogut and Redd started but combined for only 25 miniutes. I won't bother reading much into their stats since they're mostly just trying to get some burn without getting hurt. In that sense it would at least appear game one was a success.
Point Guards. Brandon Jennings' line was a mixed bag: 6/15 fg, 14 points, five assists, two turnovers, and a -18 differential in 28 minutes. Most of those points came late with the Bucks resting Redd and Bogut. Considering that he's a 20 year old playing arguably the toughest position in the game to learn, I think it's only fair to expect a turbulent start for the 10th overall pick--which from the box score alone would make this a pretty tolerable debut.
Luke Ridnour played just 13 minutes but had a tidy line: 10 points, five dimes, three steals and just one turnover. Don't underestimate the huge advantage Ridnour has at the moment--not only is he a veteran, but he's been working in Skiles' system for a year now. Jennings' should get a lot better as he adapts to the NBA and the team around him, but it's tough to say if it will happen quickly enough to earn the starting PG spot.
On the other side, Jonny Flynn was 0/5 from the field but made a whopping 14/15 from the line to go with seven dimes and three turnovers in 26 minutes. Meanwhile, Ramon Sessions scored 9 to go with six boards, four assists and six turnovers in his Minnesota debut. I'm not sure how they matched up with one another, so I won't bother speculating.
Fouls. The Bucks led the world in fouling a year ago, so it shouldn't be too shocking that the Wolves got to the line for a mind-numbing 56 free throws. I'm guessing the new refs called the game pretty tight, but it's not uncharacteristic for the Bucks to have a significant deficit at the line--something they'll need to improve on if they ever want to be a playoff team. Francisco Elson fouled out in 15 minutes, in case you were wondering.
The flip side of all those fouls is that the Bucks had a +10 advantage in the turnover department, which was of course also a strength last year. Now they need to figure out how to foul less while creating the same number of turnovers. I'm always happy to state the obvious, folks.
- Rebounding. The Bucks were a good rebounding team when healthy a year ago and the ingredients are there to continue that this year, but it wasn't there tonight as the Wolves killed them on the glass 49-24. That's partially a reflection of the free throw disparity: instead of taking shots from the field, the Wolves were shooting uncontested from 15 feet. Oh, and there's also that Kevin Love guy--he had 13 boards in just 21 minutes. Dude's a beast on the glass.