When the ball is going in the basket the way it did for the Nets on Saturday night in Chicago, the joy is contagious. They made 24 of 55 three-pointers, falling one short of tying the NBA record for made threes.
Amid all their celebrating, the Nets were especially happy for Quincy Acy, whose 21 points and six made threes (in 13 attempts) were career highs. Acy is what’s known in the trade as a “glue guy,” a selfless player who works to make everyone better and to fulfill the role assigned to him.
“He’s our spiritual leader, our bench leader, a great guy,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I’ll be honest. He has struggled with a lot of injuries. I think his ankle hasn’t been fully healthy. He’s played through a lot. As he’s gotten healthier, he’s playing better. We saw what ‘Q’ could do last year. I just love his spirit.”
Acy sat out the offseason workout period last summer while recovering from ankle surgery and wasn’t cleared to play until August. That much was known. But it’s news that Acy’s ankle was problematic throughout a season in which he will set a career high with his 69th appearance in the Nets’ home finale against the Bulls on Monday night at Barclays Center.
“There were some complications,” Acy said of his surgery. “It didn’t go as planned, so I’ve been dealing with it all year. Just playing through knick-knack injuries. It’s been a rough one, but I’m just sticking with it.”
At 6-7, Acy is an undersized low-post player, but last season, he was a revelation when the Nets plucked him out of the G League and he led them in three-point shooting at 43.4 percent. Acy has fallen off to 34.2 percent this season, but in the past nine games, his three-point shooting has clicked again at 45.1 percent.
“I’m happy for him,” said Allen Crabbe, who made five threes in a 20-point outing against the Bulls. “He was struggling and he was really being tough on himself. He stuck with it. You continued to see him put in the work. I’m just glad it’s paying off for him because we know how dedicated he is to the game, how dedicated he is as a teammate. It’s good to see good things happen to people like that.”
Acy is proud that his work is paying off, but equally important to the Nets is how hard he works at promoting a productive environment within the team. “I just try to give some character to the locker room,” he said. “I try to keep everybody’s spirits up — always funny, always laughing, just keeping everybody engaged, especially in a long year not going to the playoffs. So I try to come in with the right mindset every day.”