The incident occurred with a little under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter and Houston leading 17-14. The two players became entangled as Houston attempted to feed Howard in the post. Garnett was whistled for a defensive foul. After the play, Garnett and Howard exchanged minor shoves before Garnett threw the basketball at Howard's upper body. The two players then came together to confront each other, with Garnett leaning forward into Howard and initiating head-to-head contact. More shoving ensued from there, including Howard slapping at Garnett's neck with an open hand, before teammates and the officials intervened.
Garnett continued to pursue Howard after the initial incident as security staff members attempted to grab him from behind and direct him away from another showdown.
Eventually, Garnett was assessed two technical fouls and ejected for his role in the incident. He departed with two points and one assist in four minutes. Howard was given a technical foul and allowed to remain in the game.
Last month, the 38-year-old Garnett made headlines when he blew into the ear of Pacers forward David West.
The NBA league office will review the exchange and decide whether to assess any additional fines and/or suspensions.