PORTLAND – When point guard Shelvin Mack returned to the Maine Red Claws last week, the team knew it was not likely for long.

And it was not.

Mack will get a second shot at the NBA this season when he joins the Philadelphia 76ers on a 10-day contract.

Maine (13-8) meanwhile, is playing three home games in four days, starting tonight against the Iowa Energy (6-13).

Maine plays the Energy again Saturday at 7 p.m., then welcomes the Springfield Armor on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, for a 1 p.m. game.

Mack will be with the 76ers when they host Toronto tonight.

Mack, the Red Claws’ first-round draft pick, played all last season with the Washington Wizards. Washington waived Mack in the preseason, then re-signed him Christmas Day — only to waive him again Jan. 7.

With Mack away, Maine went 3-4 with its offense sometimes stumbling. In his three games back, the Red Claws won all of them. Mack was averaging 21 points and 7.4 assists a game.

And there is no telling if he will be back again.

“We’re real happy for him,” Maine Coach Mike Taylor said.

Unlike the last time Maine lost Mack, the Red Claws have a proven point guard ready to start. Andre Barrett, 30, who joined Maine last week, has extensive pro experience, including the NBA and D-League.

“This time we have a guy like Andre Barrett who can step in,” Taylor said. “We’re very excited to be where he’s at. He makes his teammates better.”

The Red Claws will also likely be without forward Chris Wright, who has been out for more than three weeks with a concussion. He practiced Thursday but is still listed day-to-day.

Iowa features its own Chris Wright, a 6-foot-1 point guard out of Georgetown. He averages 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.

The Energy signed 6-10 forward Josh Boone on Thursday. A former NBA first-round draft pick out of Connecticut, Boone played four seasons with the Nets. He’s played the last two years in China.

Maine leads the D-League East Division, while Iowa is last in the Central Division.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH