NBA Western Power Rankings Week 6: Clippers start rising

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Dec 5, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Trey Lyles (L) and forward Derrick Favors (15) and forward Joe Ingles (2) react to defeating the Indiana Pacers in overtime at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz won 122-119. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

7th: Utah Jazz (19 points)

By Jose Salviati

Record: 10-11

Record last week: 2-3

If the Pelicans are a surprise NBA team for a bad reason this season (and they are) then the Jazz are a surprise NBA team for a good reason. This team is really not that bad. A win in Utah at the Vivint Smart Home Arena (no really, that’s what their home arena is called now) is no longer a sure thing. The team plays tough on the defensive end and has a group of gritty players on the offensive end.

They are a long way from the John Stockton to Karl Malone heyday, but this team has a shot to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference this season and you would be hard pressed to find anyone outside of Utah to make that prediction before the season started.

The last two weeks haven’t been particularly kind to the Jazz, though. A loss to the Warriors is acceptable because, you know, everyone losses to that team. In losing by only three points, however, 106-103, the Jazz earn the distinction of being the team that came closest to beating the Golden State Invincibles (until the Celtics came close in overtime, twice).

Yes, it’s come to that. A home loss to the recently hot Magic and an overtime victory against the tough Indiana Pacers rounded out their first week of December, until they took down the Knicks and lost just 94-90 against the Thunder to close out the second week.

Next: Los Angeles Clippers