- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2000

Butch Carter is an unusual coach.

Most coaches try to keep the distractions to a minimum going into the playoffs.

Carter is the first coach to lead a team by self-inflicted distractions.

Carter is the plaintiff, author and coach of the Raptors. He can hit you with a lawsuit or with his prose. When the going gets tough, he gets a lawyer or a book contract.

Carter has filed a $5 million defamation suit against Marcus Camby. He also has written a book, in which he claims Indiana coach Bob Knight used a racial slur.

It takes all kinds in the NBA.

Phil Jackson employs Zen to make a point. Carter employs legal action.

Jackson finds meaning in rocks. The only rocks being mentioned in connection to Carter are the ones possibly in his head.

Carter picked a fight with Camby after Camby called him a liar. Carter picked a fight with Knight, because nearly everyone else in America is picking a fight with Knight.

As a coach with a modest career record, Carter undoubtedly has been called worse things than a liar, although usually behind his back.

Bill Walton sometimes says harsher things about coaches and players in the opening minutes of the NBC broadcast.

Camby could have done the easy thing and revealed he is taking it one playoff game at a time.

Instead, he told the New York Daily News: "[Carter] is a liar."

To which Carter said: No, you're the liar.

Gentlemen, can we agree to disagree? Or, given the level of discourse, liar, liar, pants on fire, hanging on a telephone wire.

Perhaps this is a new way of preparing your team for an opponent. You go over the matchups and legal briefs. You send a message in court papers instead of in the newspapers.

If you can't beat them, you seek $5 million to assuage the hurt. Predictably, Game 1 went to Camby and the Knicks.

As it turned out, the charge did not hurt as much as Larry Johnson's 3-pointer near the end of the game.

Jeff Van Ankle Weight says the Knicks spent about 12 seconds on the lawsuit, eight in laughter and the other four in recovery.

Carter is possibly breaking new ground for coaches.

P.J. Carlesimo took his choking from Latrell Sprewell like a man. What's a good old-fashioned choking worth to a person partial to breathing? To Neil Reed, the victim of a one-handed windpipe number by Knight, it is worth a national therapy session.

Carter was one of the interesting developments during the first weekend of the NBA playoffs.

Karl Malone scored 50 points to lead the Geritol-reeking Jazz.

Allen Iverson scored 40 points to lead the one-man 76ers.

The Spurs scored 70 points as the most famous ex-swimmer from St. Croix sat on the bench with a bum knee.

The Timberwolves, no lie, appeared to come down with a bad case of the nerves in the fourth quarter against the Trail Blazers. Theirs was a choke of a different kind.

Rasheed Wallace picked up a technical foul in the first quarter and a flagrant foul in the third quarter. He also had a huge offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter that he finished with a dunk.

Wallace is an apt symbol for the Trail Blazers. Wallace and the Trail Blazers can be either awfully good or awfully shaky.

At least the U.S. is not bombing Vlade Divac's homeland this spring.

The custody battle involving Cuba has to suffice.

Forward Lazaro Borrell is the Cuban representative to the NBA. Borrell sent Elian a Sonics jersey and cap. That beats what Janet Reno sent Elian: gun-toting federal agents ready to respond to a fisherman possibly armed with a net.

The Kings, meanwhile, are making plans to become acquainted with the defensive end of the floor next season.

The Lakers-Kings series does not lack intrigue. Jason Williams has the potential to complete a pass to either Jack Nicholson or Dyan Cannon at courtside.

Chris Webber could use a sedative.

It is said he has come a long way since his days as a Renaissance man in Tony Cheng's neighborhood. It seems he has evolved into a serial complainer around the referees.

Counting the Lakers, that brings to two the number of battles Webber and the Kings can't win.

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