QUIET CONTEMPLATION

Ken Hoffman: Rockets PA announcer's bit is nothing new

The Warriors' player introductions were nothing new. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

To everybody who lost their mind over Toyota Center announcer Matt Thomas’ deadpan, couldn’t-be-bothered, practically-under-his-breath introduction of the Golden State Warriors the other night: relax, it was nothing new — he did that to Rockets’ opponents all season.

It's his bit and it's hilarious. In fact, he does it the whole game. When an opposing player scores, Thomas practically whispers his name. Thomas got a lot of attention this time because it was a Game 7, nationally televised, team introductions usually don’t make the telecast, and the NBA teacher’s pet Golden State Warriors were playing. Let’s dig deeper:

Ken Hoffman: Were you surprised by the national media’s reaction to your introduction of the Warriors?

 

Matt Thomas: Not really. I treat all the opposing teams the same. The only way other cities hear my lineups are when it’s broadcast on a national cable channel like TNT.

KH: When did you start doing dismissive introductions of opposing teams? 

MT: When I came back for my second tour of duty as Toyota Center’s arena announcer during the ’16-’17 season. My first run as PA announcer was ’94-’96. I wanted to try something different this time. I’m mostly just trying to convey indifference to the other team.

KH: Do you notice how the other teams react to your introductions?

MT:: I’ve never seen anybody react until I saw Warriors coach Steve Kerr smile when I said his name. He liked it.

KH: Has management ever said it liked your introductions or asked you to knock it off?

MT: No. My job is to fire up the home team and the fans. I think I accomplish that.

KH: Has an opponent said anything to you about your introduction?

MT: Chicago’s Ryan Arcidiacono has thanked me twice for saying his name right.

KH: Do other NBA arena announcers do similarly underwhelming introductions?

MT: Most treat their opponents like they're calling roll in a junior high classroom.

KH: Which teams are the most fun for you to introduce?

MT: Golden State and San Antonio. Their players get the loudest boos

KH: Do you still want to be a game show host? Give me your Top 5 dream shows to host.

MT: Absolutely: The Price is Right$100,000 PyramidMatch GameCard Sharks, and Tattletales. The last one is an old celebrity marriage gossip game.

KH: Do you think the Rockets would have won Game 7 if Chris Paul had played? How about if Cliff Paul had played?

MT: As for Chris Paul, that forever will be a great unknown. As for Cliff Paul, he’s a very underrated 3-point shooter.

KH: What is the capital of Bulgaria?

MT: Bulgaria City.

(Wrong! The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia. And Thomas wants to be a game show host?)

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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