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NBA Power Rankings: Utah Jazz arrow pointing up as win streak continues

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The Jazz are the owners of the longest current win streak in the league

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz (24-12, 5th in West) are rolling. They’ve won six straight and 11 of their last 12, including Monday night’s thriller over the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s true that this is a soft stretch of schedule, but the Jazz are doing what great teams do to a soft schedule: Feasting.

The schedule won’t get any tougher this week, as Utah will welcome the New York Knicks (10-26) and Charlotte Hornets (15-24) to Salt Lake before traveling to D.C. to take on the Washington Wizards (12-24). Coming home off a road trip there may be a letdown, but another 3-0 week wouldn’t be surprising.

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

The Jazz are rolling through a soft stretch of schedule, winning 10 of the past 11 games with only one victory in that span over a team that is above .500. Utah’s next seven opponents all have losing records, too. The Jazz starting lineup, minus Mike Conley as he continues to nurse his nagging hamstring strain, has outscored opponents by 126 points over those 11 games. -- MacMahon

CBS Sports

A series of favorable matchups has the Jazz rolling, winners of nine of their last 10 games. They’ve found a familiar formula with Donovan Mitchell playing more point guard and Joe Ingles picking up additional playmaking duties with Mike Conley out. They’re also knocking on the door of the top five in defensive efficiency after a slow start to the season on that end.

SI.com

So this is the Jazz we’ve been expecting. Utah is cruising with 10 wins in its last 11 games, fueled in large part by Donavan Mitchell. The third-year guard is averaging 26.2 points and six assists since Dec. 11, and he’s seized point guard duties with Mike Conley out of the lineup. Point Mitchell may be the best route forward for Utah, creating a sticky situation in its backcourt.

NBA.com

The Jazz have won 10 of their last 11 games and are tied in the loss column with the fourth-place Clippers (who they’ve beat twice). Their first five-game winning streak was their best stretch of offense (115.2 points scored per 100 possessions) to date, and their current five-game winning streak, with Donovan Mitchell averaging 27.4 points on an effective field goal percentage of 64%, has been even better (117.8 per 100). Their starting lineup has been generally strong (the Jazz have the two lineups that have played 200 minutes and outscored opponents by at least 15 points per 100 possessions) and when it had a rough first half (minus-14 in less than seven minutes) in Chicago on Thursday, the Jazz got some good minutes from their new bench. That victory gave them more wins in games that were within five points in the last five minutes (they’re 16-6) than they had all of last season (15-18). The Jazz are undefeated with Jordan Clarkson and they’ll continue to have a soft schedule for the next two weeks, though their next two opponents have been playing their best basketball of the season.

Rotoworld

The Jazz have won five straight games, and if you are looking for a player primarily responsible, look no further than Donovan Mitchell. During Utah’s five-game run, Mitchell is averaging 26.3 points, 4.3 boards, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 treys while shooting 54% from the floor, 42% from downtown and 86 from the stripe. The Jazz wraps up a three-game road trip Monday in New Orleans.

SLC Dunk

There are only two reasons Rudy Gobert won’t secure the three-peat as Defensive Player of the Year in 2020: Voter fatigue and media narrative. Anthony Davis has been talking DPOY since he arrived in Los Angeles and, let’s be honest, what Lakers want they usually get.

There should be no argument that the Stifle Tower remains the best defender on the planet, though, as he showed yet again Monday night shutting Brandon Ingram down at the rim with the game on the line. I don’t know how many times Rudy has saved a game for the Jazz this season with a defensive play at the buzzer but it’s starting to feel like a weekly occurrence.