CHICAGO The offseason plan was to devise a way for the Kings to cut down on their penchant for dribbling into trouble.
Wednesday night, the Kings were reminded of what can go wrong when trying to dribble through good defense too often in a 93-87 season-opening loss to the Chicago Bulls at United Center.
The Kings had 21 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Bulls.
"Unacceptable, unacceptable," said guard Marcus Thornton. "I know it's our first game, but we can't use that as an excuse. Twenty-one turnovers to this team is too much. They're too good on defense, and they turn them into transition points."
Chicago had 18 turnovers that the Kings converted into 13 points. But the Kings hurt themselves too much to take advantage.
"This team (Chicago) is going to create turnovers because they're going to have their hands in active passing lanes, so that's going to happen," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "We overdribbled a little bit, got in the areas we shouldn't have gone."
The Kings looked over the box score and saw a lot of what they wanted to do right go their way.
The Bulls shot just 41.8 percent from the field and were 11 points below what the Kings gave up on average last season.
Those were positives, Smart said.
"If we just continue to duplicate what we're doing here, we're going to be a basketball team that has a lot of success," Smart said.
But the turnovers and the Bulls' second-chance points (19) were too much to overcome.
"I just thought that we gave away the game," said guard Tyreke Evans.
Four Kings had at least three turnovers. Center DeMarcus Cousins had a game-high seven turnovers.
Cousins said a solution for the turnover problem is to "slow down and run the offense."
"We've just got to be smarter with what we're doing on the offensive end," Cousins said. "We know the Bulls are a team that likes to use their hands.
"We've just got to take advantage of what we can do."
Smart still wants the Kings to run and play in transition when possible.
But when teams like the Bulls have them in a slow game, Smart wants them to rely on crisp passes and cuts to get good shots.
Wednesday, the Bulls made the Kings pay for going back to old habits such as trying to dribble through the defense.
"We were doing everything good except that part, turnovers," Evans said. "We've just got to do a better job of just kicking it and swinging the ball to the other side. Because when we play against that kind of team and get stuck on one side, it's hard to win."
Evans led the Kings with 21 points, but he wasn't pleased with his overall play.
With the Kings trailing 87-83 with 35.6 seconds to play, Evans tried to inbound after a timeout but failed to beat the five-second count for the Kings' 21st turnover.
"That was my fault," Evans said. "I was looking for guys to get open, and I should have called a timeout. Bad play on my end."
Smart said the game wasn't lost on that play.
"That trigger man has to be able to check off all the options and then make the right play," Smart said. "And it happens sometimes in a game. But that didn't hurt us; it was one play at the end of the game."
Center Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.