The excuses are easy. The Kings are young. The Chicago Bulls are very good.
The Kings, however, are pinning this loss on their own incompetence. They allowed the Bulls to shoot 53.8 percent, thanks largely to 33 fast-break points, in their 108-98 loss Thursday night at Power Balance Pavilion.
The Kings spoke like a team that needs to find its way soon after losing their second consecutive game following their season-opening victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Being young or pointing the finger at teammates or whatever else, it's not time for that," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We believe we have a very good team and we've waited long enough."
This season is supposed to be the one when the Kings evolve from a young team with potential into one that plays with consistency. But since late in the second quarter Tuesday in a loss to Portland, the Kings have looked a lot like the team from previous seasons.
The good feeling from Monday night is gone. And after back-to-back losses, there's a sense of frustration.
"It's the third game and it's negativity like we're in the middle of the season," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "We've got to fix that."
The defensive problems coupled with another poor showing from the free-throw line were too much for the Kings to overcome.
They entered the game having made only 35 of 57 (61.4 percent) free throws. That trend continued when the Kings connected on 20 of 34 (58.8 percent) attempts.
"We could have and should have won that game," Westphal said. "It's pathetic the way we got back on defense. If we just did that and make our free throws we win the game."
Westphal said there was no incident that made him call for players to not pass blame. But in order for the Kings to improve, he said it takes a commitment from every player.
Cousins said Westphal had the right to be mad about the "ridiculous" 33 points allowed on fast breaks and that it will take a team effort to stop the season from heading into another filled with frustrating losses.
"Everybody has to buy in," Cousins said. "Everybody. Not just the players. Everybody. We go out there and fight, but everybody's going to have to fight together."
That the Kings had so many defensive breakdowns was especially frustrating. The Bulls made 15 of 16 transition shots while the Kings had only 14 fast-break points.
"It's just effort and communication," said forward Chuck Hayes. "Not a commitment to get back. We're thinking they're going to walk it up and they're not we act surprised if they try to get the easy points."
Hayes called the Bulls' 33 fast-break points "unheard of" and said if the Kings could have held the Bulls to half that total they likely would have won.
Westphal emphasized it will take everyone getting on the same page to change the Kings' fortunes.
"We have to decide to go together into this incredibly difficult season that lies ahead and then we'll see how good we can be," Westphal said.
Cousins posted his third consecutive double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. But it was a rough shooting night for Cousins, who was 4 of 16 before fouling out.
Marcus Thornton led the Kings with 20 points. Tyreke Evans had 19 points. Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 19 points and eight assists.