By The Intern
Page 2

So the same day that I rant about Josh Smith's play, he summarily throws down 7 blocks in 43 minutes of outstanding play. I feel like Frederick Weis right now. As a result, I officially retract yesterday's intro and promise to be less reactionary in the future.

No one has ever done anything better than Josh Smith plays basketball. -- Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas have an altercation, allegedly over which of the two is the more mediocre big man. Said an onlooker, "Not the best fight I've ever seen, but not the worst either. I'd say it was ... pretty much average." (Matt in Austin) -- A few of GNR's "Chinese Democracy" songs were leaked over the internet, rekindling false hope of an actual album release for fans everywhere. I find it helps if you can picture a cartoonish Axl holding a football. (SOUND) -- Take another look at the best dunk from Saturday night -- Iggy's insane behind-the-backboard reverse jam. Also, watch out for Jason Terry dancing like Lamar from "Revenge of the Nerds." -- Clips sign Vin Baker, whose words were brief yet pointed -- "This signing isn't about me, isn't about the team, isn't about the fans. It's about one man, and one man alone. He knows who he is, and now he knows that I will follow him to the ends of the Earth to torment his soul. Thank you." (Jeremy C. in Atlanta) -- "Cheer up, little buddy. What do you say you and I go get ourselves an ice cream?"

I don't want to get all alarmist on you, but I'm starting to worry about Josh Smith. The final straw was his head-scratching Piece of Tape Dunk from this past weekend.

(For those unfamiliar, Josh placed a piece of tape way out left of the top-of-the-key, got a running start, and then inexplicably leapt from the free-throw line as if the tape buildup was just a diversion. It was like he tried to bring playaction into the dunk contest. Even stranger, no one looked more confused afterwards than Josh.)

His unsteady play this season is actually less concerning. Josh is a grade above in a league of freakish athletes, still doesn't have a defined role, and is less than two years removed from prom. It's early. Yet somehow that stupid dunk contest has me second-guessing the guy.

If that sounds ridiculous, consider the following: Josh has seemed indifferent all season long. I hate to say it, but there's some Olowokandi-esque body language going on (disinterestedly staring at the crowd during timeouts, nonchalantly joking around on the bench after being pulled for spotty play, that kind of stuff). And when you consider that a shot-blocking presence like Josh can't secure consistent minutes on a front court as thin as this year's Hawks, something doesn't add up. I'd like to know what Woodson says behind closed doors.

So if this sounds like a severe overreaction to the dunk contest fiasco, that's because it is. But it was also eerily symbolic of his confounding play all season, which makes you wonder where his head is at.

Or not. As my friend David joked, "Maybe he was just fixing the court." (Aaron in D.C.) -- An outstanding Vanilla Ice chat transcript. It opens up with the question, "[D]o you still rock the mic like a vandal?" and pretty much takes off from there. He even tackles the "Suge Knight on the balcony" rumor (explaining it's a half-truth of sorts). (Tim in Plymouth, MA; SOUND) -- Conan O'Brien on a Finnish talk show (to promote his meeting with Finland's new president, who Conan has repeatedly joked about bearing a resemblance to). Just a really goofy, surreal eight or so minutes. Also, I'm almost positive I saw that fat guy hosting a Univision game show the other day. (Brian B.) -- Auction for the screen used Dr. Tobias Funke book, "The Man Inside Me." Personally, if I could get my hands on an "Arrested Development" memento, I'd probably go for GOB's Segway. Or better yet, Franklin. But this one's solid. -- Most basketball players scribble on their shoes to either remember someone or protest the mistreatment of a teammate. Not Gilbert Arenas. He used the All-Star game to write down his own number in protest of his shoe deal. That's why I love Gilbert -- he never makes any sense. If he'd won the MVP, I bet he would have thanked his plumber and grinded on Stern. -- Bob Hill still resents Greg Popovich, and I'm kind of with him. I was in high school when Popovich conveniently fired Hill just as David Robinson was returning from injury, and even then I remember being shocked by how little coverage that got. You can't argue with Pop's success -- his coaching rep is well-deserved -- but that was a shady move no matter how you spin it. (Chris in Waltham, MA) -- Nick Lachey is filing for spousal support. If Jessica Simpson has a sense of humor, she would package the checks with a copy of Oprah's magazine, some tampons, and a note reading, "I own you." With that said, I'd be doing the same thing if I were in Nick's shoes. There's pride, and then there's stupidity.

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