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Jazz continue rapid climb to top

The Cavs retain the top spot and the Lakers remain locked in at No. 2, but for the second week in a row the most stunning jump belongs to the Utah Jazz.

Jerry Sloan's crew has won eight straight and nine of its last 10 to creep within two games of Denver in the Northwest Division and 6½ games of the Lakers in the conference. Remarkably, the Jazz continue to roll along despite playing the second-toughest schedule (their opponents have a .518 winning percentage) in the league this season.

All of which makes Utah's showdown with Los Angeles on Wednesday that much more compelling. A possible conference-finals preview? Stranger things have happened.

(All stats and records are through Feb. 7.)

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