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NBA Power Rankings: Perfect road trip gives Utah Jazz slight bump

The Jazz hit the Eastern Conference and returned home with 4 wins

NBA: Utah Jazz at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz’s brief sojourn in the double digits of the web’s power rankings is over thanks to their 4-0 road trip before falling at home to the Toronto Raptors Monday night.

None of the wins were particularly impressive, the Boston Celtics being the only winning team of the 4 victories and they were missing several pieces. The sum of the parts, though, was good enough to boost Utah as many as seven spots in the various ranks.

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

A soft stretch of games arrived just in time for Utah. After losing their first four games after the All-Star break, the Jazz have won five in a row, feasting on lottery-bound Eastern Conference competition. (The exception during that stretch: the injury-depleted Celtics.) Joe Ingles has adjusted well during his second stint as the Jazz’s sixth man. Utah is plus-62 in the 91 minutes Ingles and Jordan Clarkson have played together during the winning streak. — MacMahon

CBS Sports

The roller coaster season continues for the Jazz, who won all four games this week to bring their winning streak to five. Wins over the Cavs, Knicks and Pistons were expected, but they picked up a big victory in Boston on Friday. After all the controversy about whether Mike Conley should start, he had a terrific week, averaging 17.3 points on 51 percent field goals and 46.2 percent 3-pointers for the week.

SI.com

The Jazz are in the midst of a strong stretch, winning their last five games after defeating the Pistons on Saturday. And perhaps the Jazz are beginning to find their defensive stride. They held the Celtics to 94 points on March 6, and their defense held firm down the stretch in Detroit. Quin Snyder’s squad still feels one playmaker short of Finals contention. But Utah is creeping back toward the elite defense we expected entering 2019-20.

NBA.com

The Jazz have lost eight of their last 11 games within the Western Conference, but five straight games against the East have resulted in a five-game winning streak that has them back in the top four in the West. They’ve mostly taken care of business against the bottom of the other conference, but Mike Conley came up big (25 points, five assists, 6-for-10 from 3-point range) in a big win in Boston on Friday.

With the Celtics starting the first and third quarters strong, Utah’s new (and old) starting lineup had one of its worst games of the season. But the lineup of Conley and four reserves outscored Boston, 39-16, in less than 12 minutes. The biggest result of the change to the starting lineup has been better minutes from the bench; Tony Bradley has shot 77% and averaged 15.0 rebounds per 36 minutes and Jordan Clarkson is a team-best plus-56 over the last six games.

The Jazz will play nine of their next 13 at home and they’ll have a rest advantage when they host the champs on Monday. But their two remaining games against the fifth-place Thunder are both on the road.

Rotoworld

This winter has been an absolute rollercoaster for Jazz fans. After losing five straight games at the start of February, Utah won four in a row heading into the All-Star break. However, the Jazz lost each of their first four games coming out of the break. Yet, Utah is currently riding a five-game winning streak, including a perfect 4-0 road trip that wrapped up Saturday in Detroit.

SLC Dunk

I’m not going to say a good trip against the dregs of the East has fixed the Jazz. We saw that Monday when a quality opponent came in in the Raptors. Whatever is happening with Rudy Gobert, he needs to snap out of it. The perimeter players need to get him the ball at a higher rate, but Gobert also needs to get out of his own head.

Mike Conley is starting to look more like himself, but now the rest of the starting lineup needs to get on the same page.