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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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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