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Three games into the Rocky Mountain Revue, Utah Jazz rookie Jamie Watson is happy with the way things are developing.

"I'm doing better," Watson said after Sunday night's 92-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets' entry. "There's a lot of things I still have to learn. I still feel like I'll be playing my best basketball by the time camp ends.""Jamie is still learning the system," said Jazz coach Gordon Chiesa, "but he shows good athletic ability. He's a good one-on-one defender. He's making good progress. We're encouraged."

Watson said he's having a little trouble understanding the NBA's illegal-defense rule, but then, who doesn't? In Sunday's game no one seemed to have a clue - and the Denver coaching staff felt that included the officials, who made 11 illegal-D calls in the first three quarters. By comparison, in the three previous games Sunday, 10 illegal-defense calls were made.

Not that those were the only calls, mind you. There were more whistles in the Utah-Denver game than the Delta Center has seen since the last Golden Eagles' Bikini Night. A total of 86 fouls were whistled, and remember, this was a 40-minute game. If the officials had been given the NBA regulation 48 minutes, they easily would have topped the 100-foul plateau. Four players fouled out, including one - Denver center Kevin Salvadori - in just 15 minutes, and the Nuggets' Stephen Bardo was on the floor just 10 minutes before two technical fouls sent him to the showers.

In retrospect, he was the lucky one.

When allowed to play, the teams actually put on a decent show. Neither was able to open up much of a lead until late in the fourth quarter, when the Nuggets pulled away. The Jazz made it close with a couple of three-pointers in the final minute.

Where the Jazz were hurt was down low, as Reggie Slater, Cliff Levingston and Rodney Rogers outperformed Utah's big men. The 6-7 Slater, a former Wyoming star, scored 23 points on 8 of 10 from the field and 7 of 11 from the line, with seven rebounds and three assists. He frequently matched up against Luther Wright and Jim Havrilla on offense, using his quickness to beat them to the hoop.

Wright played 23 minutes and Havrilla nine, and they combined to go 0-for-3 from the field, with one point, five rebounds, eight personal fouls and two turnovers.

Five Jazzmen scored in double figures. John Crotty totaled 19, Bob McCann (6 of 7) and Bryon Russell each had 14, Watson (5 of 6) scored 13 and Stephen Howard added 10. McCann was the team's leading rebounder, with six. Billy McCaffrey, who had played well in Utah's two previous contests, started the game at point but played just 12 minutes, committing five turnovers with no assists.

Levingston scored 16 for Denver, while Rogers totaled 13 and Mark Randall added 10. Former Jazzman Corey Crowder scored two points on 1-of-4 from the field.

The Jazz next play Monday at 6 p.m. vs. Houston. Chicago meets Denver at 2 p.m., Phoenix faces Seattle at 4 p.m., and Portland squares off against Charlotte at 8 p.m.

In other games Sunday:

Phoenix 94, Portland 88

Malcolm Mackey totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns defeated the Blazers. Phoenix center Oliver Miller scored two points in 28 minutes. John Morton had 19 and Jaren Jackson 18 for the Blazers, while Reggie Smith contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Houston 98, Charlotte 93

Five Rockets scored in double figures as Houston dumped the Hornets. Larry Robinson led the Rockets with 27 points, and Kenny Miller added 16 and five blocked shots. The Hornets' leading scorer was P.J. Brown, with 13.

Chicago 84, Sacramento 76

The Bulls led 18-8 after the first quarter and never trailed in defeating the Kings. Jo Jo English led Chicago with 18 points. Alex Holcombe was the Kings' top scorer, with 15. Bobby Hurley hit four of seven shots for 10 points, with five assists and three turnovers, before fouling out.



Rocky Mountain Revue schedule

At Delta Center

Monday, August 1

Chicago vs. Denver, 2 p.m.

Phoenix vs. Seattle, 4 p.m.

Houston vs. Utah, 6 p.m.

Portland vs. Charlotte, 8 p.m.

Sacramento, Bye

Tuesday, August 2

No games scheduled

Wednesday, August 3

Portland vs. Chicago, 2 p.m.

Phoenix vs. Sacra., 4 p.m.

Charlotte vs. Utah, 6 p.m.

Seattle vs. Denver, 8 p.m

Houston, bye

Thursday, August 4

Sacra. vs. Denver, 2 p.m.

Charlotte vs. Chicago, 4 p.m.

Phoenix vs. Utah, 6 p.m.

Seattle vs. Houston, 8 p.m.

Portland, bye

Friday, August 5

Houston vs. Chicago, 2 p.m.

Seattle vs. Sacra., 4 p.m

Phoenix vs. Charlotte, 6 p.m

Portland vs. Utah, 8 p.m.

Denver, bye

Saturday, August 6

Seattle vs. Portland, 12 p.m.

Sacra. vs. Houston, 2 p.m.

Phoenix vs. Denver, 4 p.m.

Chicago vs. Utah, 6 p.m.

Charlotte, bye