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NBA power rankings roundup: Where do the Jazz rank?

Here’s where national publications slot the Utah Jazz in power rankings this week

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, wearing white, reacts
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts after a bucket during the game against the LA Clippers at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz were riding high last week after winning eight consecutive games, but the Jazz were brought back down to earth, dropping two games to San Antonio and Washington before pulling away late to beat Charlotte on Monday.

Here’s where national publications slot the Jazz in power rankings this week:

ESPN — No. 4 (Last week No. 3)

Team ahead of the Jazz: Brooklyn Nets

Team below the Jazz: Milwaukee Bucks

What they said about the Jazz:

Utah was the NBA’s hottest team before its eight-game winning streak was halted by head-scratching home losses in back-to-back games against the Spurs and Wizards. The Jazz have the league’s best net rating (plus-10.5 points per 100 possessions), but Utah has been mediocre in clutch situations (6-8 in games within five points in the final five minutes). — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 3 (Last week No. 3)

Team ahead of the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

Team below the Jazz: Cleveland Cavaliers

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz’s dominant, eight-game winning streak came to an end with back-to-back losses at home over the weekend. Both games went down to the wire, but they were otherwise different. The loss to the Spurs on Friday was one of the Jazz’s worst defensive games of the season, with San Antonio committing just seven turnovers and shooting 24-for-44 (55%) between the restricted area and the 3-point line. The loss to the Wizards on Saturday was one of their worst offensive games of the season, with Utah shooting 14-for-44 (32%) from 3-point range and just 19-for-30 (63%) from the free throw line. Seven of those 11 misses at the stripe came in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz are now 6-8 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, even though they’ve shot 52% on clutch shots. That breaks down to 46-for-79 (58%) from Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert and 0-for-9 from everybody else. They were without Conley (rest) on Saturday and are now 0-3 without the starting point guard, with all three losses having come against the Eastern Conference (responsible for six of their nine defeats overall).

The Jazz also have more losses at home (6) than they did all of last season (5). But they still have just one loss (Nov. 11 vs. Indiana) that wasn’t within five points in the last five minutes, while every other team has at least two. Two days after that Indiana loss (Nov. 13 against Miami) was the last time they trailed a game by more than eight points. That’s why, despite the weekend losses, they’re No. 1 in the league in point differential (per game and per 100 possessions). Their six-game homestand concludes this week with a Christmas Day visit from the Mavs. — John Schuhmann

Sports Illustrated — No. 3 (Last week No. 3)

Team ahead of the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

Team below the Jazz: Brooklyn Nets

What they said about the Jazz:

While countless contenders have dealt with COVID-19 outbreaks over the last two weeks, the Jazz have stayed above the fray and have not put a player in the league’s health and safety protocols this season. With their roster intact, Utah is again among the league’s best teams, sitting at 20–9 and in third place in the Western Conference. — Ben Pickman

CBS Sports — No. 4 (Last week No. 1)

Team ahead of the Jazz: Chicago Bulls

Team below the Jazz: Brooklyn Nets

What they said about the Jazz:

Utah earned the No. 1 spot last week and promptly lost to the Spurs and Wizards at home. Classic curse. The Jazz righted the ship with a win over the Hornets to close out the week, as the offense continues to produce at near-historic levels. Bojan Bogdanovic found the range from deep, averaging 19 points this week on 45 percent 3-point shooting, including a 5-for-11 performance in the win over Charlotte. — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 3 (Last week No. 2)

Team ahead of the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

Team below the Jazz: Cleveland Cavaliers

What they said about the Jazz:

Back-to-back losses last weekend to the Spurs and Wizards were a reminder of a weakness in Utah’s otherwise impressive regular season: They are not a very good clutch team. The Jazz are 5-6 in games within three points in the final three minutes (despite a +24 net rating in those minutes). The Jazz are 6-8 in games within five points in the final five minutes. Utah got the Christmas Day showcase game it believes it deserves, but against a shorthanded Mavericks team it may not be the showcase Utah had hoped for.— Kurt Helin