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Marco Belinelli to defend 3-point shootout title

Marco Belinelli, Klay Thompson

San Antonio Spurs’ Marco Belinelli, right, drives the ball away from Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson during an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Standout dunker Kyle Korver will try his his hand in the 3-point shootout.

Stephen Curry is in it until he wins it.

Klay Thompson, Wesley Mathews and J.J. Redick will also compete.

The final participant?

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News:

Defending All-Star Weekend 3-point champion Marco Belinelli said he has gotten the invitation from league officials to defend the long ball championship he won in New Orleans last year.

“Yes, I will be there,” Belinelli said before Wednesday’s Spurs-Hornets game at the AT&T Center. “I am really looking forward to it.”

Belinelli ranks well below the other competitors in both 3-pointers per game and 3-point percentage:

Kyle Korver3.153.4
Klay Thompson3.245.6
J.J. Redick2.544.1
Wesley Matthews3.139.7
Stephen Curry2.939.1
Marco Belinelli1.236.7

But as defending champion, Belinelli was practically a lock to get invited.

Just six of the event’s 28 winners didn’t return the following year to defend their title – and all six had good reason. Kevin Love (2012 champion), Steve Kerr (1997), Mark Price (1994), Dale Ellis (1989) and Larry Bird (1988) were injured the following seasons. Jeff Hornacek (2000) retired.

Belinelli is healthy and has a real chance to repeat. Though the other entrants are better in-game outside shooters, the 3-point shootout requires slightly different skills – stamina to launch 25 shots in a minute (twice if the first time goes well) and ability to pull balls off a rack and lock in on the basket. Belinelli has proven he can do that.