DeJuan Blair sat in a hotel room on Wednesday night as he served his one game suspension and he watched his team get pushed to the brink of elimination by his former team, the San Antonio Spurs.
Blair was a monster inside the paint for the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of their first round playoff series against the Spurs. Blair would be suspended for Game 5 without pay for kicking Spurs center Tiago Splitter in the head and Dirk Nowitzki says he was missed.
“He’s a big body,” Nowitzki said. “He definitely could have battled there with Duncan and Splitter. He had a fantastic last game.”
Blair posted 12 points and 11 rebounds before getting ejected in the Mavs 93-89 Game 4 loss. The former Spur proved to be a thorn in his old team’s side for much of Game 4 until his ejection, and that is when the momentum swung to San Antonio’s favor. The former Spur said after Thursday’s practice he has no intention to tone it down for Game 6.
“Nah, I’m going to leave it all out there. Because it’s win or go home,” Blair said. “That’s the mentality I’m bringing into the game. That’s the mentality I’m going to have the team bring into the game. We know they’re a great basketball team, but like I keep saying, we can play with the best of them and we’ve just got to keep going.”
In his first season with Dallas, Blair averaged 6.4 points per game, but his inconsistent play on the offensive end is still something that hinders him.
If the Mavs want to survive another day and force a Game 7, they will need another big game from Blair. That won’t be easy against his former team.
“We’re going to need his ability to fight,” Nowtizki said. “I thought he really brought some fight to the last game, especially when we were down by 20. I thought he changed the momentum a little bit.”
The Spurs lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and will look to eliminate Blair and the Mavs in Game 6 on Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.