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Red Claws Top Thunderbirds at D-League Showcase

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Mario West’s most translatable NBA skill continues to be his determination. He doesn’t think like a point guard. He doesn’t shoot like a two-guard. He’s not big enough to play the three. He just plays harder than everybody else.

It’s a formula that led to 18 points, seven assists, four steals, three rebounds, two blocks and several key defensive plays as the Maine Red Claw overcame a poor showing at the free throw line (17-for-33) to defeat the New Mexico Thunderbirds, 98-97.

West, who spent the better part of the last three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, earned a GATORADE Call-up to Hawks following the 2010 NBA D-League Showcase, after spending all of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons with the Hawks. He’s hoping for a similar outcome following this year’s Showcase.

“It was really an incredible thing to be a hometown kid playing in the NBA for the Hawks,” said West, who averaged 3.2 points over four seasons at Georgia Tech. “Right now, I’m just trying to improve on all facets of my game. I’m known mostly as a defensive player, but I’m also working on my offense and trying to get better with each and every game.”

Tiny Gallon, the 47th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft who was cut in training by the Milwaukee Bucks, had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Red Claws. In his lone season at Oklahoma before entering the Draft, Gallon averaged 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, but the 6-9, 290-pound forward has struggled with conditioning.

DeShawn Sims added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Maine (10-11). Shane Edwards led the Thunderbirds (11-10) with 29 points. Stephen McDowell added 19 points for New Mexico.

New Mexico played its second and final game of the 2011 NBA D-League Showcase. Maine plays again tomorrow against Reno.

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