Once down 20 in the early portion of the third quarter, the Mavs battled back and took a stunning 83-82 lead with 3:51 left in the game. Dallas was fueled by third-string center DeJuan Blair as he rattled off 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the second half.
His night, however, ended abruptly.
The Mavs were able to cause a turnover and a leaping Shawn Marion threw the ball blindly back in play in order to avoid returning the favor. Both Blair and Spurs center Tiago Splitter charged at the ball and the officials blew the whistle, calling a foul on Blair. The backup center ended up kicking his legs in disgust of the foul call and his left foot hit Splitter in the head. The officials looked at the video and ruled that a "hostile act" was made, forcing Blair to be ejected from the game.
"It was clearly a reaction to the call," Blair said. "Actually, I didn’t know because I was facing down there so they are going to judge off of what they do.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said his view was distorted, not allowing him to have the cleanest view of the action. But he gave the benefit of the doubt to the officials.
"Scott Foster is one of the best officials," Carlisle said. "If he said that there was a technical foul there and an ejection, then there probably was."
Veteran forward Marion was asked if he had ever seen a hostile act called during a game.
"Hostile act," Marion questioned. "Is that a movie?"
Actually, a hostile act is in the league's rule book, in reference to Rule No. 13 -- Instant Replays, Section 1, a (4) in relation to replay triggers.
The rule book states that the officials can review the play if one player commits a hostile act against another player, resulting in the offending player being ejected from the game. An example would be when a player intentionally or recklessly harms or attempts to harm another player through the use of a punch, elbow, kick or blow to the head.
It remains to be seen if Blair will be given a suspension for the hostile act.
"I mean, it was an accident, so we'll see what happens," Blair said. "It wasn't intentional. I was just reacting to a call that I thought didn't go my way."
With his first career postseason double-double on 12 points and 11 rebounds, Blair clearly went in and gave the team energy and played tough defense. Unfortunately for the Mavs, he only played a total of 16 minutes.
The league will now decide if Blair will even get to suit up in Game 5.