NBA suspends Mavericks' DeJuan Blair for kicking Spurs' Tiago Splitter in the head
The NBA has suspended DeJuan Blair for Game 5 of a first-round playoff series between the Mavericks and Spurs after he kicked Tiago Splitter in the head during San Antonio's 93-89 road victory over Dallas in Game 4 on Monday.
With a little more than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Dallas leading 83-82, Splitter received a pass near the free-throw line and attempted to make a face-up move past Blair. The two players collided, Splitter lost the ball and they both fell to the court, with Splitter landing on Blair's legs.
Blair then lifted both of his legs to clear himself from Splitter before extending both and catching Splitter in the right side of his head with his left foot. Replays clearly showed contact between Blair's foot and Splitter's head.
Blair was assessed a technical foul and ejected for the play. He departed with 12 points (on 5-for-5 shooting), 11 rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes.
Six Spurs players finished in double figures. Manu Ginobili led the way with a game-high 23 points (on 7-for-14 shooting), five assists and three rebounds. Boris Diaw added 17 points (on 7-for-12 shooting), four rebounds and four assists, and he sank a late three-pointer that proved crucial in securing the victory.
Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with a team-high 20 points (on 6-for-20 shooting), four rebounds and three assists. Dirk Nowitzki added 19 points (on 7-for-19 shooting), seven rebounds and two assists in a losing effort.
With the win, San Antonio (No. 1) tied its series with Dallas (No. 8) at two games apiece. Game 5 is set for San Antonio's AT&T Center on Wednesday.Blair becomes the second player to be suspended during the 2014 postseason, joining Wizards forward Nene, who headbutted Bulls guard Jimmy Butler.