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DeJuan Blair suspended for Mavericks-Spurs Game 5 after kicking Tiago Splitter

San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four
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DALLAS, TX - APRIL 28: DeJuan Blair #45 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts during play against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 28, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks face a pivotal Game 5 matchup on Wednesday in their first-round series. Unfortunately for the No. 8-seed Mavs, they'll be without a key player as they attempt the upset.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that Dallas big man DeJuan Blair has been suspended without pay for Game 5. Blair was ejected with 3:08 remaining in regulation of Monday's Game 4 for kicking Spurs center Tiago Splitter in the head after both players fell to the ground. Take a look below:

As noted by the Associated Press, Blair told reporters that he did not kick Splitter intentionally. Splitter said he originally thought that was the case but changed his mind after watching the video. Regardless of the severity or intent, it's no surprise that the NBA suspended a player for kicking another in the head.

Blair's stats don't jump out as essential to the Mavericks — in the series' first four games, he's averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over 9.3 minutes — but he was a major part of the team's second-half comeback in their eventual Game 4 loss.His His energy, finishing, and rebounding will all be missed.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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