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Kings’ Marco Belinelli plans to shoot his way out of slump

Marco Belinelli drives against the Bucks’ Khris Middleton on Monday. His 18 points helped the Kings win 111-104.
Marco Belinelli drives against the Bucks’ Khris Middleton on Monday. His 18 points helped the Kings win 111-104. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Nobody may have been happier to see January end than Marco Belinelli.

Last month, the backup Kings shooting guard shot only 34.3 percent, including 27.4 percent from three-point range. And even though he started February by scoring 18 points in Monday’s 111-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, he missed 10 of 15 shots.

In his past 10 games, Belinelli is shooting 29.1 percent.

What’s the solution?

“I’m going to keep shooting,” Belinelli said. “I’m not worried.”

Even amid the struggles?

“I know I didn’t shoot well the last couple weeks or month, but I’m going to keep shooting,” he said.

The Kings signed Belinelli last offseason to shore up their perimeter shooting. Belinelli hasn’t been delivering lately. But the Kings will stick with him until he finds his shooting touch coming off the bench.

Belinelli signed a three-year, $19 million contract after the Kings failed to lure another shooting guard, Wesley Matthews.

A career 43.0 percent shooter entering this season, Belinelli is shooting 38.2 percent overall and 30.7 percent beyond the arc – both career lows – and averaging 10.8 points. He said the struggles have been on his mind “a lot.”

“Especially mentally the last couple of weeks, especially my shot,” Belinelli said. “Like I said before, I’m a shooter so I’m going to try to be on the court and try to be aggressive.”

Belinelli certainly hasn’t been gun-shy in Sacramento, hoisting 9.5 shots per game, the second-highest rate of his career.

While coach George Karl said he’d like to get Belinelli more catch-and-shoot situations to help him out of his slump, Belinelli said drawing up plays for him is unnecessary.

“I just want to play and help the team win,” he said. “I’m not the guy who wants to have a couple plays to score. I never had that before in San Antonio or Chicago. I just tried to be on the court, read the defense, try to be aggressive and try to create an easy shot. It’s not easy, but at least (Monday) we got a win.”

Belinelli said being paired with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo helps his game. On Monday, that was the case in the fourth quarter, when Belinelli scored 10 points. And after missing his first six three-point attempts, he made two of his next three to help the Kings pull away.

“For me it was really important,” Belinelli said. “Especially the possibility to play a lot with Rondo is a good thing. When we play with each other, we play well together.”

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Rondo said a key to getting Belinelli going is ensuring he touches the ball early.

“As a shooter, it’s kind of hard to touch the ball and just catch it (and shoot) the first time you’ve touched it in a while,” Rondo said. “I always try to let him bring the ball up the court or try to find him in transition and let him get his rhythm.”

And from there, Belinelli will keep shooting.

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

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Wednesday: Chicago at Kings, 7 p.m., CSNCA, 950, 1140

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