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Rusty stepping in for Crotty

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Guard John Crotty joined Donyell Marshall on the injured list Monday, and the Jazz announced they'll sign Rusty LaRue to a 10-day contract on Tuesday, provided he passes a physical.

Crotty is still suffering from left knee tendinitis.

LaRue is expected to be in uniform for Wednesday's game against the Chicago Bulls at the Delta Center.

A 6-foot-3 guard, LaRue has been playing for the Asheville (N.C.) Altitude of the NBDL, where in 26 games he averaged 12.0 points, shooting 44.2 percent from the field, 43.0 percent from the three-point line and 90.4 percent from the free-throw line.

LaRue previously spent parts of three seasons with the Bulls. He was in the Jazz's training camp last fall and played in six of eight preseason games. Coaches liked LaRue but chose not to sign him since they already had 13 players on guaranteed contracts.

HOT HEAT: Miami coach Pat Riley felt his team was ill-treated Monday at the Delta Center, as evidenced by a 44-21 Jazz advantage in free throws attempted.

"We get accused of being a push-and-shove team, but that's ridiculous," Riley said. "They (Jazz) do a good job offensively . . . but they (referees) don't let you guard them. They don't let you play defense against them."

Riley was particularly incensed by who shot the free throws.

"You have (Andrei) Kirilenko, JarronCollins and BryonRussell, three guys who are not their go-to guys, who get 33 of the 44 free throws. Most of them are probably on cuts. They (Jazz) make the hardest cuts in the NBA, and if you don't guard the cuts, they get layups. They (referees) just don't know about them yet, it's been what? Twenty years, 15 years they have been doing it. It's ridiculous."

NO LETDOWN: Collins was asked if he'd had any trouble getting fired-up to play the Heat after learning that Mourning wouldn't play.

"There are guys in this league who can kick your butt even though you don't know who they are," the rookie said, smiling.

COME AGAIN?: Coach Jerry Sloan offered some cryptic comments that may or may not have been aimed at someone in the Jazz locker room, to the effect that they'll go before he goes.

After saying that nobody could go to team owner Larry H. Miller and get him fired, Sloan said, "When things go downhill, they have to realize who's going to be here, and I'm going to be here."


E-mail: rich@desnews.com