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NBA power rankings roundup: Jazz fall in some rankings after 3-3 stretch

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

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The Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley (10) and Donovan Mitchell (45) high-five in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

\Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) hi-five after teaming up for a three point shot as the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Jazz won 128-112.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz, which still have the best record in the NBA, have faltered a bit as of late.

Utah is 3-3 in its last six, with losses to Dallas, Phoenix and Washington.

The Jazz are just one game up on Phoenix for the No. 1 seed, and will face tests in the coming days with back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Lakers, with reports that Anthony Davis could return to face Utah, though LeBron James is still out.

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

ESPN — No. 1 (Last week No. 1)

What they said about the Jazz:

Donovan Mitchell became the first Utah player since Karl Malone to score at least 35 points in three straight games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Jazz’s wins this week over the Trail Blazers and Kings, which extended the franchise-record home winning streak to 24 games, marked the first contests this season that Utah won with Mitchell taking at least 25 shots from the floor. The Jazz were previously 0-5 in such games. — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 2 (Last week No. 1)

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz have failed to outscore their opponent from 3-point range in only 11 of their 53 games. Three of those 11 were in December and three of them were last week, when they shot 27% from beyond the arc against the Mavs, Suns and Blazers. Their loss in Dallas was more about the other end of the floor, where the Mavs shot 9-for-17 on off-the-dribble 3s. But for the second time this season, the Suns were able to keep the Jazz’s offense in check by stifling their ball movement with strong pick-and-roll defense and on-a-string rotations. The Jazz have averaged just 296 passes per 24 minutes of possession in their two losses to the Suns (over which they’ve scored just 101 points per 100 possessions), and 342 passes per 24 minutes of possession otherwise. They survived another poor shooting night from beyond the arc when Donovan Mitchell shot 9-for-12 on non-restricted-area 2-pointers against Portland. Two nights later, he had his third straight game of 37 points or more despite shooting 12-for-31 from the floor, getting to the line for 17 free throw attempts (one off his career high). Prior to that win over the Kings, the Jazz were 3-10 in Mitchell’s career (0-3 this season) when he had a usage rate of 40% or higher. After they conclude a five-game homestand with a visit from the Pacers on Friday, 15 of the Jazz’s final 16 games will be within the Western Conference — John Schuhmann

Sports Illustrated — No. 2 (Last week No. 1)

What they said about the Jazz:

Donovan Mitchell has been the Jazz’s top option since the moment he arrived in Utah, though he’s truly arrived as an elite leading man in 2020–21 with a career-high 26.3 points per game. Mitchell’s proficiency from three has been a major cause behind his progression. He’s shooting 38.6% on all triples this year, and he’s been especially dynamic as a three-point shooter off the dribble. Only five players have hit more off-the-dribble threes this season, with Mitchell’s 36.3% mark on those shots outpacing James Harden and Damian Lillard. Mitchell’s ability to drive and finish at the rim has never been in question. It’s his efficiency from beyond the arc that’s fueling Utah’s dominant season.— Michael Shapiro

CBS Sports — No. 4 (Last week No. 1)

What they said about the Jazz:

“The Jazz scuffled a bit in losses to the Mavs and Suns to start the week, but bounced back with solid victories over the Blazers and Kings. Donovan Mitchell averaged 34 points for the week, but shot just 20 percent from 3-point range. Mike Conley, Joe Ingles and Georges Niang each hit over 40 percent of their 3s this week, while Rudy Gobert averaged 13.5 points and 16 rebounds.” — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 1 (Last week No. 1)

What they said about the Jazz:

Cold shooting from three cost the Jazz in recent losses to the Suns and Mavericks, but it was the loss to the Wizards that was more shocking: Utah’s defense took the night off against Beal and Westbrook, and Utah’s home winning streak ended at 24. Utah still has a 1.5 game cushion over the Suns for the top seed and one of the easiest schedules remaining in the NBA. They should hold on to the top spot. Two high-profile games against the Lakers coming up, but with L.A. shorthanded, the Jazz need to pick up wins there. — Kurt Helin