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NBA power rankings roundup: Utah Jazz fall in some polls after losing 5 of the last 8

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Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, center, goes to the basket against Washington Wizards center Alex Len, back center, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Washington.

Nick Wass, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz have lost five of the last eight games, the latest loss coming on Thursday against the Washington Wizards.

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

ESPN — No. 1

What they said about the Jazz:

The momentum from the Jazz’s 22-2 run is long gone, as Utah has dropped four of the past six games. The Jazz have slipped significantly on the defensive end, allowing 115.9 points per 100 possessions during the six-game slump. Donovan Mitchell’s efficiency has also dipped drastically; he’s shooting only 36.5% from the floor in March. — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 4

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz are 1-3 in March, with the one win being a lackluster effort against the Rockets on Friday in which they allowed a depleted team that’s lost 16 straight games to cut a 23-point deficit to five midway through the fourth quarter. The other three losses came on the road (where the Jazz are 12-8) and with sub-par defense; They’re three of the 10 games this season in which the Jazz have allowed more than 115 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz are deep, with one reserve (Jordan Clarkson) the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year and another (Joe Ingles) being a guy who started 52 games for them last season. They brought back Derrick Favors to shore up their second-unit defense, but their bench minutes can still hurt them. Rudy Gobert had 24 points, 28 rebounds and four blocks against the Warriors on Sunday, and the Jazz outscored Golden State by 11 points in his 32:28 on the floor. But they were outscored by 23 points (allowing 49 on 33 defensive possessions) in the other 15:32. For the season, the Jazz have been 14.5 points per 100 possessions better with Gobert on the floor (+13.5) than they’ve been with him off the floor (-1.0). Their five game trip concludes with their final four games in Eastern Conference arenas. — John Schuhmann

Sports Illustrated — No. 2

What they said about the Jazz:

Rudy Gobert is once again in the midst of another potential All-NBA campaign, and the Stifle Tower turned in one of the most impressive stat lines of the season against the Warriors on Sunday. Gobert gobbled 28 rebounds (including eight on the offensive glass) to go along with 24 points, turning back the clock to the last century when centers dominated the sport. Chalk it up to luck of the draw if you wish, but nearly 30 rebounds is an impressive accomplishment regardless of the opponent. Gobert continues to be a touch overlooked as one of the top players in the game, even as he contends for a third Defensive Player of the Year award. — Michael Shapiro

CBS Sports — No. 2

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz’s win over the hapless, depleted Rockets was closer than it needed to be, then they were simply outplayed on both ends in Sunday’s loss to the Warriors. That’s now four losses in six games for the Jazz, which is enough to bump them from the top spot in the Power Rankings for this week. Donovan Mitchell averaged 26 points and six assists in the two games on 37 percent 3-point shooting, while Rudy Gobert put up a monster 24-point, 28-rebound, four-block performance in the loss to Golden State. The Jazz are still a great team, so we’ll see how they respond to the recent bumps in the road. — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 6

What they said about the Jazz:

Utah is willing to be a buyer at the trade deadline, but it has to be a player who fits the team’s culture and style of play. They are not going to be aggressive buyers. The Jazz did add Ersan Ilyasova as a stretch big off the bench; that may be their only move to adjust the roster. Interesting note via Statmuse: Jordan Clarkson is hitting 96.7% from the free-throw line this season, which would be the second-highest single-season free throw percentage in NBA history. — Kurt Helin