SAN ANTONIO -- Dallas Mavericks backup center DeJuan Blair has been suspended for Game 5 of the first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced Tuesday.
Blair was ejected with 3:08 remaining in the Mavs' Game 4 loss, which evened the series, for kicking Spurs center Tiago Splitter in the head.
The incident occurred when both players were on the ground after Blair was whistled for a foul. The officials ruled it a "hostile act," but Blair said he was reacting to the call and didn't intend to kick Splitter.
The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Blair, who spent his first four NBA seasons with the Spurs before signing with the Mavs this summer, is averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game in this series. He had 12 points and 11 rebounds in 16 minutes Monday night, playing a key role in a Dallas rally from a 20-point deficit that ultimately fell short.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle refrained from comment on Blair's ejection and potential suspension Tuesday, saying he had not seen a replay with a clear view of the kick.
"The league will do whatever it thinks is appropriate," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I don't even think twice about that sort of thing. We're not involved in it and they do what they think is appropriate in those situations."