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NBA Power Rankings: Utah Jazz slip coming off short week

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A 1-point double OT loss in OKC drops the Jazz a few spots around the web

NBA: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz offense had no rust to shake off coming out of the All-Star break. In a back-to-back, they put up 147 in a double OT loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and sleep walked (slept walk? slept walked?) their way to 125 over the Luka Doncic-less lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks.

Dropping the Jazz in power rankings because they lost by one point in double overtime on the road against a top-3 team in the West seems a bit harsh, but that’s exactly what happened.

(Side note: Utah’s schedule coming off the break is wonky. They’ll play four games over a 16-day span between Feb. 13 and Feb. 28, but those four games are a pair of back-to-backs with three off days in between.)

NBA Power Rankings

Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21
Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21
ESPN.com 7 7 7 6 5 6 7 12 12 13 12 11 9 6 5 3 8 9 7 9 12 7
CBS Sports 6 6 9 13 7 8 8 12 13 12 12 8 6 3 4 4 10 8 6 10 13 6
SI.com 6 6 9 13 8 8 11 11 12 12 12 11 9 7 6 6 8 7 7 8 8 8
NBA.com 5 7 7 11 7 8 10 12 13 12 13 8 6 3 3 3 7 7 6 9 9 6
Rotoworld 7 7 7 9 7 5 6 12 12 12 12 7 7 3 4 3 9 8 7 9 12 7
USA Today 4 4 4 6 5 7 9 12 12 12 11 9 4 3 3 3 9 6 6 12 12 9
FiveThirtyEight 5 6 8 7 5 6 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 4 4 5 6 5 11 11 10
SLC Dunk 4 4 6 7 4 6 8 11 13 12 11 8 6 3 3 3 8 6 6 10 10 8

ESPN.com

Anyone who still considers reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert a one-way player isn’t watching the Jazz. Gobert has established himself as an offensive force. He’s averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game while leading the league in field goal percentage (.654) and screen assists (6.0 per game, generating 13.9 points). The Jazz average 109 points per 100 possessions with Gobert on the floor -- the best of any Utah player with at least 300 minutes -- and 102 points per 100 possessions when he sits. -- MacMahon

CBS Sports

Worst-case scenario: Not getting Mike Conley at the trade deadline comes back to haunt the Jazz, as what some would presume to be a favorable first-round matchup with the Thunder turns out to be a matchup that exposes the Jazz’s lack of playmakers. Donovan Mitchell isn’t able to shoulder as much of a load as he is capable of with Paul George locking him down, and the Jazz get swept.

SI.com

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City was an absolute thriller, but it also dropped Utah to 0-3 vs. the Thunder this season. The schedule is pretty light for the Jazz and there aren’t many games against teams ahead of them in the standings. This game is a good measuring stick for Utah with the playoffs a month out, and it’s a good test of pride. After beating the Thunder in the first round last season, the Jazz are now staring down the barrel and looking for a regular-season sweep.

NBA.com

The Jazz have the structure of a good offense. Only three teams -- Houston, Milwaukee and Atlanta -- have taken a greater percentage of their shots from the restricted area or 3-point range, a reason they rank higher in effective field goal percentage (13th) than they do in straight field goal percentage (15th). And they rank even higher in true shooting percentage (11th), because they have the league’s third-highest free throw rate, attempting 30 freebies for every 100 shots from the field. But you can’t shoot efficient shots or get to the line if you turn the ball over, and sloppiness has been an issue for the Jazz. They rank 26th in turnover rate (15.1 per 100 possessions) and had 25 (including eight in clutch time) in their double-OT loss in Oklahoma City on Friday. This week (a back-to-back and then a game Saturday against the best team in the league) presents the toughest three-game stretch they have left on their schedule.

Rotoworld

After a brutal first-half schedule, the Jazz will be able to make up some ground in the West. According to NBA.com, Utah has the West’s “easiest remaining schedule, with a league-high 16 games against teams that currently have losing records. Their longest-remaining road trip is four games against four of the five worst teams in the Eastern Conference.”

SLC Dunk

I won’t lie, that Thunder loss left me feeling more frustrated than any loss in recent memory. To me it felt like the Jazz took one look at that game (and a chance to move up the West standings) and said “thanks, but no thanks.”

Moving forward, the schedule is easy and the main goal should be this team finding its way and getting ready for the playoffs. That starts with cutting down on the turnovers, in my opinion.