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NBA power rankings roundup: Utah Jazz still in top five in national lists

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

Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles blows a kiss to his family as he and Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic walk off the court.
Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles (2) blows a kiss to his family in the stands as he and Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) walk off the court after a game with the Indiana Pacers at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 16, 2021. The Jazz won 119-111.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz had a mixed bag over the last week.

Without star guard Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz blew double-digit leads to lowly Minnesota in back-to-back games, then followed that up by scoring a franchise-record 154 points in a thrashing of Sacramento.

No. 1 Utah faces No. 2 Phoenix tonight at 8 p.m., with Mitchell and Mike Conley out and Royce O’Neale questionable.

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

ESPN — No. 1 (Last week No. 2)

What they said about the Jazz:

“A home loss to the lowly Timberwolves when the Jazz had a chance to clinch a playoff berth? In a game Utah led by 17 in the first half? That’s a head-scratcher, even with Donovan Mitchell missing because of his sprained ankle. Joe Ingles (1 of 9 from the floor) had his worst shooting night of the season, but the Jazz are still 14-4 when he fills in as a starter for Mike Conley or Mitchell.” — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 5. (Last week No. 5)

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz’s success is less star-driven than that of the league’s other top teams and if there was a “Best Ensemble Cast” award in the NBA, this team would win it. But the Jazz still need Rudy Gobert to anchor the defense that has climbed to second in the league for the first time in two months. And they still need Donovan Mitchell to carry some of the load for the league’s fifth-ranked offense.

Playing without Mitchell (sprained ankle) for the fourth straight game on Saturday, the Jazz were held under a point per possession (for the first time since Jan. 5) by the team (Minnesota) that ranks 28th defensively. They shot well and often enough from 3-point range (19 for 47), but got outscored by 30 points (56-26) in the paint. And without the guy who ranks third in clutch usage rate (43.4%) — Mitchell — they scored just six points (two Bojan Bogdanovic 3-pointers) on 10 clutch possessions, struggling to gain an advantage against the Wolves’ switches, but also missing some good looks at the basket.

The Jazz, who became the first team to clinch a playoff berth (with the Blazers’ loss on Sunday), still have the league’s fourth-ranked clutch offense (118.8 points scored per 100 possessions) and they still have a two-game lead over the Suns. Phoenix does have the tie-breaker (having won the first two games) and will host the final regular-season meeting on Friday.” — John Schuhmann

Sports Illustrated — No. 4 (Last week No. 3)

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz are in the midst of a minor slump with three losses in their last five games, including a pair of defeats against the Timberwolves? Should this be reason for concern? Not exactly. Monday’s loss was the product of a defensive lapse by Rudy Gobert on Minnesota’s final possession, and regardless, this simply isn’t the same potent offense with Donovan Mitchell out of the lineup. As long as Utah is healthy come playoff time, this could very well be your Western Conference champion.” — Michael Shapiro

CBS Sports — No. 4 (Last week No. 5)

What they said about the Jazz:

“A clunker against the Timberwolves on Saturday prevented a 3-0 week for the Jazz, who beat the Lakers and Rockets without the services of Donovan Mitchell as he continues to rehab his ankle injury. Bojan Bogdanovic kept up his hot shooting, making 44 percent of his 3-pointers this week while averaging 21 points per game. Jordan Clarkson has also taken on the extra scoring responsibility with Mitchell out, putting up nearly 20 points per game this week on 39 percent 3-point shooting.” — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 4 (Last week No. 3)

What they said about the Jazz:

“The Jazz are 3-point bombers — they take more threes a game than any team in NBA history (43.5) and hit 38.8% of them (fourth highest team percentage in the league this season). But the Jazz offense is more than that. John Schuhmann at NBA.com noted in a Tweet the Jazz still win 60.9% of games when shooting below league average from three (worse than 36.7%); Utah is 14-9 in those games, best in the NBA. Utah fans are freaking out a little after two ugly losses to the Timberwolves, but a couple of losses in the dog days of the season and without Donovan Mitchell are no cause for panic. It happens.” — Kurt Helin