Blair on kicking Splitter: ‘I reacted to the call and his face happened to be down there’

Dallas Mavericks center DeJuan Blair (45) screams after forcing a turnover in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Spurs beat the Mavs 93-89.  

Matthew Emmons/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

DeJuan Blair’s energy off the bench Monday night was almost enough to propel the Dallas Mavericks to an improbable comeback victory.

But with 3:08 remaining, Blair let his emotions get the best of him. The 6-7, 270-pound power forward collided with Spurs center Tiago Splitter, was called for a foul and reacted by kicking Splitter in the head. Blair was ejected and forced to watch the rest of the game with a few other staff members in the Mavs locker room.

"It was just an accident," Blair said. "I reacted to the call and his face happened to be down there. It was nothing intentional, especially the way I had been playing.

"I’m not that dumb to do something like that in the heat of the game when I know I changed it. It was totally an accident."

When Blair wasn’t rebounding or tapping misses out to teammates, he was scoring in the paint, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 16 minutes.

"What he brought to the game really helped us make our comeback," Mavs guard Vince Carter said. "He just plays with a lot of passion. He just wants to win."

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