Early on in the Pacers’ 110-85 win over the Nets on Saturday, Kevin Garnett did something unseemly to David West.
Garnett appeared to Blow in West’s ear — or if not in his ear specifically, directly into his face.
West immediately retaliated with a shove, and received a technical foul — which was likely Garnett’s goal all along, to get his opponent off his game.
We saw something similar, of course, between Lance Stephenson and LeBron James, when the Pacers faced the Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
West was clearly heated at the time, but was willing to joke about the silliness of the situation afterward.
“Yeah, I didn’t like that,” West said. “I just know it was too close and I didn’t like it. I don’t really play them games. We’re out there to play basketball so let’s play basketball. Everybody was kinda looking at what made me push him or whatever, (I) told ’em, ‘he blew in my face.'”
Then, recognizing the absurdity of the Lance-like moment, West began to smile.
“An aggressive blow at that,” West described. “I think Lance’s was more sensual. That was an aggressive one.”
West is known as one of the more legitimate tough guys among his fellow players, while Garnett has a reputation of being all bark and no bite — i.e., essentially the opposite.
Being “aggressive” in that way is Garnett’s attempt at getting inside his opponent’s head. But after the shove from West early on, I’m guessing Garnett was on his best behavior for the remainder of this one.