Carter intentionally hit Thunder rookie center Steven Adams in the head with a forearm shiver, retaliating after Adams perhaps inadvertently elbowed Carter in the face.
After the officials reviewed the play with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter, Adams was assessed a technical foul and Carter was given a flagrant 2, which meant automatic ejection.
"More than anything, I just want to apologize to the fans of both sides," said Carter, a 16-year veteran. "You know there's no need for it. They're already trying to clean up the game of basketball, make it fun for fans to watch. It's just one of those things where you're caught up in the moment of a big game, whatever, whatever, and you react to a reaction that was done to you."
The flagrant 2 subjects Carter to further punishment after the league office reviews the play. Carter acknowledged the possibility of being suspended.
"It is what it is now," Carter said. "There's nothing you can do. More than anything, it's a play that hurt my team, giving up free throws and points. You just have to deal with the consequences and move forward."
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle declined comment, saying it was an issue for the league office to handle.
"It was just a reaction," Carter said. "It was just one of those things where you get caught in the moment playing in a big game, in a battle. It does happen, but sometimes when you do something like that, you just wish you can take it back."