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.

Quick Hits
*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.

  • Adriiian

    Nice game for the most part. DeRozan is looking improved, hopefully the three ball makes an appearance. Can he hit 75-100 threes this season?

  • leftovercrack

    Terrence Ross is starting to piss me off. Inconsistent, disappears…. Put Acy’s heart and energy in T-Ross’ body. Make Quincy the first man off the bench for every position but PG

  • wrooster

    Nice to see Acy finally get some floor time. He’s an energy guy with skill – his game today only surprises me a little bit.
    I think Stone will get the 15th roster spot – only point guard today with a positive assist/turnover ratio (plus the other 3 points guards are somewhat unreliable one way or another).
    Thanks for the quick and well written article!

    • youngjames

      well the article was definitely quick, grammar wise, I guess it well written. But the views and insights stink! This cats go no honey on the biscuits when discussing the Raptors….at least in this article.

      • BlakeMurphy

        What in the blue hell does ‘no honey on the biscuits’ mean?

        • youngjames

          No depth – plain!

  • Alb_perjet

    Blake where is the comment of the night by Sherman asking Casey to start Quincy Acy …. and because of that, he will be called the Shermanator. If I was Jack Armstrong, I would watch my back, there is a new genius commentator in town!

    • BlakeMurphy

      I missed that. Ridiculous.

      • Casey Sherman

        It was in jest to be fair

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Beating the Knicks is always big, but they had better have it in their heads that the next time they play them won’t be such a walk in the park. They were missing a few important players, had a lot of bad turnovers too, and Metta World Peace might actually be the Raptors’ MVP since he took 17 shots and made 35% of them.

    But the Raptors looked good. I’m confident that they’re going to clean up their passing and ball-guarding and look stronger by the start of the regular season.

    I’m not going to shave my neck beard for a few days and then stroke it in honor of The Quincy. Yesss…

  • Milesboyer

    Was at the game and that pass that Stone made to T. Ross for the dunk was a thing of beauty. I really like Stone in the few minutes I’ve seen him. Would take him over Buycks anyday but since DW’s contract is guaranteed, it looks like we might have to go with 4 point guards. Knowing Casey, he’ll probably put them all out there at once at some point in the pre-season.

    • youngjames

      Stone can play multiple positions – not just PG

  • Louvens Remy

    Murph!

  • Rick d

    I like this post was good article. Not a lot of negativity towards raptors like dd. however what’s up with Ross I think this young kid needs time but had to learn from the bench. Q needs to be played more at the 3 spot or 4 he’s a great hustler and shows improved jumper. I like his game. Landry is a struggling player but I will take his rebounding and defence over Ross at the 2 spot to replace dd!!!! Go raptors. Keep it going dd

    • leftovercrack

      I developing DD and a bulked-up Gay playing closer to the basket could work as a pair of wings

  • consmap

    Ross should spend some time in the D-League I think. It could potentially help him a lot

    • leftovercrack

      He doesn’t seem to play with any sense of urgency. I know it is the preseason but….

  • Justin

    I don’t know, Buycks hasn’t really impressed me at all. I felt when Stone came in midway through the 4th, the offense really started to click better. He definitely looked more comfortable running the show.

    • Ghotte

      Once Buycks initiated the offense off a pick no one moved. Stone is definitely a worse PG; because he doesn’t do anything. (Nice pass though.)

      Buycks with a few starters would work better than you think.

      • youngjames

        Buycks is better How?…not defensively – not with Basketball IQ – not with NBA readiness…so besides the potential to be more offensive, how is Buycks better??
        I do agree Buycks with time could be a better NBA guard, he has never had the chance to play in the NBA on a contract. So its up too him, if he has the mindset to listen and then to ability to apply the knowledge, have the concentration, patients and work effort needed – his skills are there – he “could” be a nice find. Till then….!??!

        • Ghotte

          Other than the pass” what about Stone has him ranked higher than Buycks in your opinion? You’ve clearly got him better defensively, NBA readiness (his 2 FGs of readiness from 2012 or the 200 min in 2011?) and basketball IQ, correct?

        • BlakeMurphy

          You don’t have any sample to judge either player’s IQ on. Stone’s had a cup of coffee in the NBA and you’ve seen Buycks in summer league (where he was great) and preseason (ho-hum). A big part of what might seem like IQ right now is the incentive problem that faces young players low on the depth chart, as touched on in the article.

          • youngjames

            One only need a sample size to determine that simple judgement call – Just like, I don’t need to stare at someone for 45 minutes to figure out whether they are happy or sad, it’s a pretty simple call….but I digress, some need more time to determine the simple stuff. I’ve seen some film on Stone (yes a small sample of it), but NBA playing film, and what I have seen over 3 ex-games from both players, I can tell you that Stone is more NBA ready then Buycks. It’s really not that hard.
            AND, of coarse they are playing with lesser skilled NBA players – what does that have do with who is more NBA ready? Buycks and Stone are 3rd string players who are playing other 3rd string players, I can see who is more ready. I am not commenting on “who of the two can play better against top (better) talent or who of the two will be more NBA ready by Christmas – I am merely saying from what I have seen (and I don’t need to see much for this) Stone is more NBA ready today!. As he should be anyways, he has had some time with the NBA’s Nuggets – once again, really not a hard call Boss.

            • BlakeMurphy

              I didn’t respond to your NBA ready comment…I specifically spoke on the IQ matter. Please read my response..literally did not use ‘NBA ready’ once. Neither is ready for appreciable minutes, not even worth dissecting, really.

              So are you saying you can tell a guy’s basketball IQ just by looking at him? Something like that is hardly ‘simple stuff.’

              • youngjames

                I agree, niether is really ready. However I do like the “potential” of Buycks as an undrafted player. My response was for Ghotte he mentioned “NBA ready”, It seemed to me that you replied on his behalf. And no, I’m not saying I can tell a guys Bball IQ by just looking at him – my analogy was based on one doesn’t need advanced scouting skills after 3 games to tell who is more NBA ready or for that matter which players are starters and which ones aren’t! Just like one doesn’t need a physiologic degree to see if someone is sad or happy…..It’s an easy call.

      • Casey Sherman

        I agree, his floormates were setting worthless picks, Hansbrough in particular. Eventually he was just like screw it, I’ll go iso to the hoop. And got a few buckets that way

  • Ghotte

    Possum. Both teams seemed to be hiding any offensive and defensive sets of any significance – which makes sense as they’ve got one more fake game to go against each other before it’s for real.

  • One relaxed fella

    Too many turnovers, too many offensive rebounds allowed. I expected Raps to give away too many O boards in a game against Timberwolves (same goes with Saturday game), but not against Knicks. Chandler is great when it comes to getting rebounds, but 17 offensive rebounds is a bad bad result and Knicks don’t have any other player who can rebound that well, so what the hell? And then the 23 turnovers, bad 3 pt shooting, only 9 assists. What a surprise. I know that most of the fans are happy because Raptors did win after all and NY played even worse, but this win doesn’t show a lot of strength from the main guys. Believe me, it’s going to be Knicks who will take the W when it actually matters if Raps continue to play like this. Jonas, Amir and Tyler have to step up and improve their rebounding. You can’t give away 17 second chances. About players: DD is the most consistent player in O that Raptors have; Tyler is the best player who comes of the bench. Acy played very well, more of it please. I don’t know why Daye is here and I have a feeling that I will not be able to figure that out any time soon… or at all. Fields, Ross and Augustin were all bad. Novak will continue to be useless unless Raptors will start to set plays for him on the offense (and yes, I do understand that he wasn’t playing much because the game was against his former team). Otherwise, one of the best 3 pt shooters in NBA will go to waste. I predict that Casey and Raptors will wonder between not creating for him at all or giving him “shoot all you can” license. There has to be balance, he can’t carry the team (or 2nd unit) offensively, but he can be very effective for 10-14 minutes and several three pointers. Otherwise it will be like last season with Anderson and Lucas (I’m not saying that they are that good at shooting threes, like Novak is) – you can shoot threes? Goooood, fire away.

  • NyAlesund

    Off rebs and poor D. I think that the most important thing is not how DD and RD can score but how they play on D.

  • Phat AlberG

    Looks like the Raptors still haven’t found point guard to run the show. I feel we are much better on defence which is a good thing, but I feel Kyle needs to make better decisions running offence.

    • NyAlesund

      We do not have a reliable point guard. Lowry can’t be the starter.

  • RaptorFan

    Just a few quick thoughts:

    Once again Demar Derozan was the best Raptor player on the court Friday night.

    Acy deserves a lot more playing time.

    Ross looks pretty bad right now, I hope he can get it together!

    I would like to see Stone as the first PG off the bench for at least 1 or 2 preseason games.

    The game seemed to change for the 2nd Unit and the Raptors when Acy and Stone entered the game. The energy picked up and Stone is extremely intruiging as he can cover so many positions and is sooo tall for a PG. This is why i got NBATV …..good game, good win, especially for just a preseason game.

  • mountio

    Ya .. T Ross looks bad .. and it does piss me off. BUT – at least he shows flashes of being a good NBA player (albeit they are sometimes quite few and far between).
    Fields on the other hand is just awful. My blood boils every time I see him on the court and his ugly shot and think about the $$ we flat out wasted on him

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