Midway through the first quarter against the Pacers at the Barclays Center, Garnett was whistled for a foul while defending West on the perimeter. As the two teams prepared for play to resume, Garnett approached West, leaning in to blow air into his right ear and the side of his face. West, a rugged and no-nonsense power forward, looked away and shoved Garnett with both hands in the chest. Garnett sold the contact by leaning back and throwing his hands up.
Of course, the game officials penalized West's response with a technical foul while Garnett escaped punishment for instigating the exchange.
Garnett, 38, is averaging 7.5 points and 7.9 rebounds in what could be his final NBA season. The future Hall of Famer has a long history of on-court antics, including a 2008 Celtics-Blazers game that saw him get down on his knees and barked like a dog at Jerryd Bayless. Garnett's most famous recent incident saw Carmelo Anthony confront him by Boston's team bus following some heated trash-talking during a 2013 Celtics-Knicks game.
Stephenson, then a member of the Pacers, made headlines during the Eastern Conference Finals when he blew in LeBron James' ear during Indiana's Game 5 win over Miami. The act drew significant criticism and Pacers president Larry Bird admitted he was "bothered" by Stephenson's hijinks. The Heat went on to beat the Pacers in seven games and Stephenson signed with the Hornets in free agency.