Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio (3) dribbles around New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) during an NBA basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 4, 2019.

It’s a long-held belief among NBA haters that the players don’t care until the playoffs.

Based on this week’s games, that’s as bad an idea as a Rudy Gobert 3-pointer.

Since the All-Star break, the Jazz have lost in triple overtime to Oklahoma City, beat Dallas, the Clippers, Denver and Milwaukee, and lost by three to New Orleans.

That’s the same New Orleans that is far out of the playoff race.

Did the Jazz suddenly lose interest? The atmosphere two nights earlier was electric in Utah’s win over Milwaukee. The Jazz came from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win. It was thrilling basketball to watch — not because of the outcome, but because of the entertainment factor. Giannis Antetokounmpo played like the MVP he should be. Donovan Mitchell had a career-high 46 points, 17 in the final eight minutes.

No, these players don’t care (wink, wink).

There are still only four games separating third and eighth place in the Western Conference.

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New Orleans overcame a 14-point deficit with 9:28 remaining to beat the Jazz on Monday, even though Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis played just 22 minutes. Also on Monday, the Spurs beat Denver by one point, and the out-of-contention Suns beat the East-leading Bucks by nine points.

Doesn’t sound like no one cares to me.

This is March. It’s supposed to be the dog days of the season, but you wouldn’t know it by the competitiveness. Players do get tired, and obviously it’s a mental and physical marathon. But they’re not going through the motions. They’re just going through the wringer.