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Jazz return home to face Lakers

SALT LAKE CITY -- Generating offense is already becoming a major concern for the Utah Jazz.

Tons of turnovers and missed 3-point baskets added up to back-to-back road losses for Utah. The question, as the Jazz return home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, is if this is just a bump in the road or a forecast for larger problems ahead.

Utah (2-3) ranks 29th in the league in scoring, averaging just 94.0 points per game. In their three losses, the Jazz have shot just 29.3 percent from the perimeter and are averaging 20.3 turnovers per contest.

Tentative play is a critical factor in turnovers and missed shots. Utah simply isn't driving to the basket often enough to force opponents into tough situations.

"We need to attack the rim," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "There's times where the answer is to shoot the ball, and maybe get fouled, and give ourselves a chance to offensive rebound. We're not getting to the line as much as we need to and we're not getting offensive rebounds and that's actually connected to the turnovers."

One thing that should offer a boost is the presence of guard Rodney Hood. A strained calf knocked Hood out of a pair of games, but he returned to action against Phoenix on Wednesday. Hood scored 22 points in the 97-88 loss to the Suns and is averaging 21.0 points in the two games he has started so far.

His calf still isn't at 100 percent, but the injury isn't as serious as it originally appeared when he needed to be carried off the court by his teammates against Minnesota. At the time, Hood feared he had injured his Achilles tendon when he couldn't put any weight on his toes or feel the back of his leg.

"I got the range of motion back and that's all I really needed," Hood said. "I can get through the pain. I just got to be able to move my foot."

Scoring in bunches isn't an issue for the Lakers. Seven players are averaging double figures to give Los Angeles (2-2) a potent offense that is causing some headaches for opponents. The Lakers are averaging 106.0 points per game.

Toronto was the first team to hold the Lakers under 100 points this season. The Raptors rallied in the second half to beat Los Angeles 101-92 on Thursday night.

One reason the Lakers are so effective on offense is because of the emergence of young players like second-year forward Brandon Ingram and rookie forward Kyle Kuzma. Both have taken turns shining for Los Angeles in the frontcourt.

Kuzma posted his first career double-double against the Raptors, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ingram, who averages 14.4 points per game, has shown flashes of being a clutch shooter in late-game situations, after scoring a tip-in basket to force overtime in a 102-99 win over Washington.

Taking over when the Lakers need a basket is a trait that is second nature to Ingram and is emerging in full force as he becomes more comfortable with his abilities.

"He definitely wants it," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "100 percent he wants it. Some people, you feel like they say they want it, but in their eyes you can tell they're saying it because they're supposed to say it. But Brandon, he truly wants those type of moments."

Utah swept the series with Los Angeles a season ago, winning all four games. The Lakers haven't beaten the Jazz since prevailing 101-96 on April 13, 2016 in Kobe Bryant's final game of his NBA career.

Updated October 28, 2017

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