Halfway through the Utah Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue schedule, the team's point guard is second in the league in scoring.
Now, this is not classic Jazz procedure. The point guard - i.e., John Stockton - is supposed to help others score points, scoring himself only as an afterthought.But John Crotty is averaging 18.3 for the Jazz's summer squad, shooting 58.3 percent from the field, and after a 79-72 victory over Houston at the Delta Center Monday, coach Gordon Chiesa said he wouldn't have it any other way.
"We want him to score points, to score points within the offense," Chiesa said. "It makes your passing game even better by being a scorer."
Crotty's assist totals aren't particularly high this summer; he had two Monday and after three games was tied for eighth in the league. Then again, he's not exactly passing to Karl Malone and Jeff Hornacek out there.
"John Crotty did a good job of executing and making the right reads," Chiesa said. "He made a lot of good plays for his teammates."
One thing the Jazz emphasized Monday was getting the ball into center Luther Wright on the low blocks. Chiesa said the plan was to get Wright involved early, and while he didn't have a spectacular offensive night - six points on three of eight from the field, with four rebounds, in 27 minutes - he did seem more active.
"Luther Wright was much more aggressive tonight," Chiesa said. "When a guy tried to dunk, he contested it."
The Jazz's other center, Jim Havrilla, got his first start and had his best game - six points on three-of-four shooting, with five rebounds in just 12 minutes of play.
Crotty was the only Jazzman to score in double figures. Bryon Russell had nine rebounds and Stephen Howard eight. Rookie Jamie Watson took the night off with a thigh bruise.
For Houston, Larry Robinson - who was on the Jazz's Revue team last year - scored 19 points, Ashraf Amaya added 16 (and 15 rebounds) and Alvero Teheran contributed 15.
The entire league takes a day off Tuesday, then resumes play Wednesday with Portland vs. Chicago, 2 p.m.; Phoenix vs. Sacramento, 4 p.m.; Charlotte vs. Utah, 6 p.m.; and Seattle vs. Denver, 8 p.m.
In other games Monday:
Chicago 86, Denver 84
Jo Jo English hit a 20-foot jumper with 14 seconds left to lift the Bulls (3-1). Dickey Simpkins was Chicago's leading scorer, with 18. English had 13 and Evric Gray and Kris Bruton scored 11 each. For the Nuggets (2-3), Reggie Slater scored 18, 15 in the second half. Cliff Levingston contributed 15 and Darnell Mee 14.
Phoenix 84, Seattle 82
The Sonics' Gerald Paddio drilled a falling-down three-pointer to tie the score at 82-all, but Suns' guard Elliott Perry raced downcourt and knocked down a running jumper for the winning basket. Perry led Seattle with 23 points and five assists; Malcolm Mackey and Randy White each had 14. For Seattle, Paddio scored 22 and Chris King 20.
Portland 92, Sacramento 66
Portland outscored Sacramento in every quarter and went on to beat the Kings 92-66. Blazers' James Robinson led the way with 21 points. Bobby Hurley continued his comeback with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He also had 7 assists.