Let’s start at the end and work backwards.
Leading 98-90 with 15 seconds to play, Quincy Acy hit Beno Udrih with one of these:
That was the feather in the cap for Acy, who played the best six minutes of his life on Friday night.
“Just my heart. Bringing as much energy as I can, helping my team win. I just know I need to play defense and play hard to stay on the court, and rebound. I’m just blessed to be here,” Acy said after the game, not at all answering Sherman Hamilton’s questions.
Have a look at Acy’s fourth quarter performance:
4th quarter, 6:11 – enters game
5:43 – fouls Ike Diogu to announce his presence with authority
3:15 – after playing possum for 150 seconds, he steals the ball from Diogu, drives the lane and scores
2:50 – takes a charge because he doesn’t suffer fools like Udrih lightly
2:27 – Dwight Buycks feeds Acy, who takes it in for more #buckets
1:44 – Buycks finds Acy and WTF SERIOUSLY QUINCY A-THREE AKA QUINCY A3 with the triple BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE WHAT IS HAPPENING
1:00 – Metta World Peace, get that garbage outta here
0:20 – takes a charge because Diogu needed to know; hits a pair of free throws because fundamentals
0:14 – aforementioned lariat on Udrih
0:00 – strokes beard, mean mugs, reminds world of O.G. status
There was an actual basketball game that was played, too. I mean, this is Acy’s world and everyone else is just playing here, but it’s worth discussing still. Let’s hit some key storylines so we can put Acy’s greatness in context:
Andrea Bargnani returned to Toronto
Had you heard about this? Nobody tweeted about it at all, so maybe you didn’t know.
Anyway, Bargnani, wearing No. 77, got booed from the national anthem on, though it was never really resounding. It’s preseason for the hecklers, too (and the game recap writers, if you can’t tell). Bargnani looked like himself, going 4-of-9 for 10 points with four boards in 22 minutes. Bargnani did his usual, frustrating, catch-the-ball-at-the-three-point-line-and-wait-forever thing, passing up a couple of open looks for twos or to dish the ball away once a defender came. That probably won’t change, as his reactions and early-possession IQ are poor.
At the same time, on this team he won’t get the ball in situations to create that often. If he’s willing to work off the ball, he’s going to get a lot of open looks he just never got in Toronto. Remember, this is a useful basketball player, just not a very good number one or number two option.
DeMar DeRozan is different but mostly the same
DeRozan was very aggressive Friday, and it made for a really strong game for him (20 points and five rebounds on 7-of-15). He got six free throw attempts, the mid-range jumper looked pretty as always, and he showed a tighter handle (with far more confidence driving) than we’re used to seeing.
At the same time, even with his success getting to the hole, he took seven shots from between 16ft. and 21ft. You can’t shoot all of your shots in the paint or beyond the arc, but taking half of them from low-efficiency spots is still less than ideal.
Dwight Buycks is your new John Lucas
Eric Koreen made this joke first, and it speaks to the incentive problem that low-depth chart role players face. Buycks needs to produce to secure a job and perhaps surpass D.J. Augustin. To do that, he needs to get noticed; a third string point guard playing passively is going to be invisible in the grand scheme of things.
As it is, Buycks had a really quick trigger on Friday (eight shots in 18 minutes) and he turned the ball over four times to just two assists (both to Basketball God Quincy Acy). He has talent, including a very quick first step, but he has to find the right level of aggression as a reserve guard.
Obligatory Jonas Valanciunas update
I love this preseason schedule for the young Lithuanian – he gets Tyson Chandler and Nikola Pekovic twice each, plus Marc Gasol and LARRY SANDERS! It’s a nice trial, and he didn’t shy away from it on Friday against Chandler.
Of course, it’s Chandler, so Valanciunas didn’t stand out. He had eight points and five rebounds in 22 minutes with two turnovers and didn’t pick up a single foul, but you’re just not going to look good against Chandler most nights.
Turnovers and KLOE
Oh Shamgod, the turnovers. The Raptors had 23 turnovers leading to 31 Knicks points, and Kyle Lowry was the worst offender with six.
Now, six is inexcusable (as is 23 as a team), and Lowry didn’t play excellent, but I remain confident in Lowry. He looks much quicker and hasn’t lost any of his grab-every-rebound/nobody-scores-on-me attitude. He’s not the most naturally talented, but few people care more than Lowry.
*Tim Hardway Jr. had a really rough game. Landry Fields put him on his ass with a crossover (and then missed the dunk, but still), DeRozan drove the lane on him hard and he airballed a three. Even with all of that, Hardaway looks like he’ll be a useful 3-and-D kind of wing off the bench immediately.
*Speaking of crossovers, Augustin has a nice one. I haven’t been kind to DJA, but his north-south step-back crossover is very clean, as is his right-to-left move. He’s a little sloppier with his left hand.
*Udrih BLEW by Terrence Ross on one play where Ross was the primary defender. A screen came, sure, but Udrih didn’t go around it, he just ran past Ross. It’s the preseason, but no games mean little enough that Udrih should ever blow past a guy like Ross. Get it together, man.
*Koreen disagrees with me on this, but with three minutes left and the game close, I would have liked to see the starters out there. They’d sat a while, sure, but with preseason games not holding a lot of value, the chance to work on late-game sets seems like one potential benefit.
As with any game, there’s a lot more that we could touch on. However, it’s preseason, and 1,000 words is my minutes limit for a preseason game.
Instead, I pose a question for the commenters: how do you, personally, choose to give praise and thanks for Quincy Acy? Me? I have a beard at all times in tribute.