Mavericks expecting big things from DeJuan Blair

Posted Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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DeJuan Blair didn’t have a pleasant experience for San Antonio last June when the Spurs blew a 3-2 lead and lost the NBA Finals in seven games to the Miami Heat.

For starters, Blair didn’t even play in Games 1, 5, 6 and 7 of the championship series, and only played a total of just 16 minutes, 48 seconds in the other three games.

So when the Spurs blew a five-point lead in the final 28 seconds of Game 6 and subsequently lost the series in seven games, Blair was not pleased that he wasn’t on the court to help his team .

“I didn’t have it won,’’ Blair, who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks, said after Saturday’s practice. “The Spurs had it won.’’

Blair was a second-round pick by the Spurs in 2009 and had played his entire NBA career in San Antonio until the two sides severed ties over the summer when his contract expired.

Asked if he expects to receive a warm reception when the Mavs make their first trip to San Antonio on Jan. 8, Blair said: “I really don’t care what I get. I’m not going there to get nothing.

“They didn’t give me nothing when I was there. I mean, the fans gave me everything, but everything else, it is what it is. I don’t look at that. I look for us to get a win.’’

The Mavs signed Blair to a one-year, $884,293 free-agent contract in August to help bolster their front line. Although he has to defend much taller centers, Blair adds some much-needed muscle and physicality the Mavs were lacking when they lost Elton Brand to the Atlanta Hawks via free agency over the summer.

“I just try to use more of what I have than what I don’t have,” the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Blair said. “I know I don’t have height, but I’ve got a lot of power and strength.

“I’m pretty strong, so it evens out. It’s nothing to me. I’ve been playing [center] all my life against seven-footers.’’

With center/power forward Brandan Wright out indefinitely with a small nondisplaced fracture of his left shoulder, Blair will likely see his playing time increased.

“He has a very good feel for the game for a big guy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He screens and moves well, he has a good feel for passing and keeping the flow of the game going, so we need him to play his game.

“He’s had to learn both [center and power forward], which is going to be challenging for anybody because we don’t have a lot of guys that play both big spots, and they’re vastly different. But DeJuan’s got to be ready to play both positions in games and he knows that, so he’s putting in extra work.”

Blair also is gearing up for the Mavs-Spurs’ intense rivalry. Only this time he’s playing for the team at the other end of I-35.

“It’s a pretty fun rivalry, especially switching it around,” Blair said. “Going from one rival to another, of course the fans don’t like it.

“But its pretty fun being on the opposite team and playing with the Mavs and playing under Coach and everybody.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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