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Ex-King Marco Belinelli booed in return

Charlotte’s Kemba Walker (15) and Marco Belinelli close in on Kings guard Ty Lawson (10) on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Charlotte’s Kemba Walker (15) and Marco Belinelli close in on Kings guard Ty Lawson (10) on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. aseng@sacbee.com

Former Kings usually are cheered when their names are announced in Sacramento, but Marco Belinelli was booed when he checked into Saturday’s game at Golden 1 Center.

Belinelli had a forgettable season with Sacramento in 2015-16 but showed his ability in Charlotte’s 99-85 win.

The boos probably resulted from Belinelli criticizing the Kings after drama between players and coach George Karl. The team knew Karl and DeMarcus Cousins were at odds.

Belinelli, however, has played well for the Hornets. The shooting guard had 13 points and six assists off the bench Saturday.

“Marco Belinelli, I thought off the bench, played really well,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Hopefully, we can build on it and go (to Los Angeles) and play well (Sunday against the Clippers and Tuesday against the Lakers).”

Belinelli is averaging 10.8 points on 43.4 percent shooting this season. He’s making 37.1 percent of his 3-point attempts (2 of 4 Saturday).

Last season was Belinelli’s worst as a pro as he shot 38.6 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from 3-point range.

The Kings traded Belinelli in the offseason for rookie guard Malachi Richardson, whom Charlotte had drafted in the first round (22nd overall).

Rookie strides – Kings forward Skal Labissiere’s playing time has increased significantly since DeMarcus Cousins was traded.

After scoring a season-high 12 points in Thursday’s win over Denver, the rookie from Kentucky had a career-high 13 rebounds on Saturday.

Labissiere had 15 rebounds all season before Saturday.

Lineup changes – In his second game back with the Kings, guard Tyreke Evans replaced Ty Lawson in the starting lineup.

That was the only change from Thursday’s lineup. Darren Collison and Ben McLemore also started at guard, with Anthony Tolliver at power forward and Kosta Koufos at center.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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