Jianlian, the No. 6 overall draft pick from China, had nine points in 25 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting. He sat several stretches after getting his third and fourth fouls, but showed the same impressive range that has made Lewis so valuable. Not bad for a guy that three months ago never looked like he’d play for Milwaukee.
“If I can control the fouls, I can play much better,” Yi said.
Lewis probably couldn’t have. The 6-foot-10 forward scored from all over the floor, leading a Magic 3-point barrage that buried Milwaukee in the third quarter. As Orlando hoped, he stretched halfcourt sets to open up the paint for Dwight Howard, and vice versa.
“He obviously makes it easier for us because he draws so much attention down low,” Lewis said. “And when we’re knocking down 3s, he’s left with his man one-on-one.”
Orlando, one of the league’s worst 3-point teams by attempts last season, shot better from 3-point range (54 percent) than the field (44 percent). Besides Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu keyed the effort with 24 points on 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc.
“Turkoglu presents a matchup problem not just for our team but for a lot of guys,” Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “He’s an offensive-minded player. He’s crafty—he’s been around the block a time or two.”
Milwaukee hit 4-of-17 from 3-point range and 38 percent from the field. Michael Redd led the Bucks with 25 points, 12 in the first eight minutes, and Bobby Simmons added 16. Andrew Bogut finished with 11 rebounds.
Yi’s first NBA statistic was a steal, followed by a turnover a few seconds later. He responded the next play by blocking Turkoglu’s layup, and the 7-footer scored his first NBA basket about 30 seconds after that on a 22-foot jumper.
Howard had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Perhaps most importantly for Orlando, he hit eight of 10 free throws.
“He’s a rare guy who is capable of absolutely dominating a game even when he’s not having a great offensive night,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, also making his Orlando debut. “He struggled a bit offensively, particularly early in the game, but to not even play the fourth quarter and end up with 12 rebounds and seven blocks is unbelievable.”
Trailing 56-55 a few minutes into the third quarter, the Magic took off on a 28-8 run keyed by Turkoglu and Lewis. Lewis hit three 3-pointers, Turkoglu had two and Keith Bogans and Keyon Dooling each chipped in one.
Turkoglu sparked the run with a sharp play to draw Yi’s fourth foul. The seven-year veteran caught the rookie in the air, passing up an open jumper to lean in for contact and two free throws.
Simmons scored nine of Milwaukee’s first 10 points in the second quarter, and the Bucks built a 41-34 lead midway through the period. Turkoglu and Howard led Orlando back with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes, and Lewis scored four in the quarter’s final 2:33 to give the Magic a 48-46 halftime lead.
The Magic announced a five-year contract extension for Jameer Nelson before the game, keeping him in Orlando as long as Howard. … Magic president and CEO Bob Vander Weide wore face paint and a cape on the arena TV screen during player introductions. … Krystkowiak played for Orlando in the 1993-94 season, averaging five points in 34 games.