When the schedule was released, you can bet that Dallas Mavericks center DeJuan Blair circled December 26 on the calendar. Blair, who was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2009, played four seasons as the back up for Tim Duncan. Blair was a critical piece to the Spurs coming off the bench as he averaged 7.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game during his time there.
On August 7 of this year, the Mavericks signed Blair away from the Spurs. For Dallas, he has averaged 8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a game. Blair started out as the backup center to Samuel Dalembert, but a month into the season head coach Rick Carlisle made the switch and put Blair in at the starting position.
Against the Spurs on Thursday night, Blair played one of his best games of the season. Motivated by playing against the team that drafted him, Blair put up 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. All of these numbers are way above his season average for Dallas. Brandan Wright missed the game due to illness so Blair knew he’d have to step up.
When asked about the play from his centers, Carlisle said, “I thought Blair played well.”
Moving forward, the Mavs need more performances like this from Blair. Often times he would be the person to bring the energy off the bench in San Antonio, and the Mavs need him to do the same thing for them as they make a run in the Western Conference.