Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett and Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, two of the best big men in the NBA over the past 20 years, turned what looked like a harmless moment into a near brawl that included Garnett delivering a solid headbutt to Howard's face.
The altercation took place midway through the first quarter of Monday night's Nets-Rockets game in Brooklyn. Garnett was whistled for a foul, and quickly after, Howard used his left hand to shove Garnett.
"The Big Ticket" didn't react calmly. He threw the ball at Howard and headbutted him. Howard responded with a right-hand jab at Garnett, but it's tough to tell if the hand was open or closed. Either way, it didn't look like Howard connected. Check out the video.
Garnett was ejected from the game. Howard was assessed a technical foul.
The man that drafted Garnett to the Wolves with the fifth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Kevin McHale, now the head coach of the Rockets, didn't think the altercation was a big deal.
"In the good old days that was a play-on, now they throw people out," McHale said after the game, according to NJ.com. "I don't think it was that big of a deal."
Garnett isn't the only player in the NBA this year to go after Howard; Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have also had words with him, as Deadspin notes.
Garnett has a history of losing his temper. In 2004, in a story published by the Washington Post, Garnett was accused of blindsiding former Gopher and Wolves second-round draft pick Rick Rickert with an in-practice punch that resulted in Rickert getting seven stitches. In 2000, KG is said to have punched teammate Wally Szczerbiak in the head after an argument. Another ex-teammate of KG's in Minnesota, Anthony Peeler, got the best of him when he played for the Kings in the early 2000s.