On the very first play of the Boston Celtics' game against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, who were playing without Kevin Durant(notes) and Jeff Green(notes) (both of whom are battling ankle injuries), Paul Pierce(notes) tried to feed Garnett on the low block, where he was being guarded by Serge Ibaka(notes). One of Ibaka's teammates — I'll be honest, I can't tell for sure after repeated replays if it was Russell Westbrook(notes) or Thabo Sefolosha(notes) — came in from the back-side of the play to defend the entry pass and, on the way up, clocked the Big Ticket in the back of the head with an elbow.
Ibaka came away with the steal, and down the other end of the floor, Westbrook drove for a layup and the game's first points. Garnett was dazed enough on the play that the Celtics called a 20-second timeout on the next possession, just 30 seconds into the game.
Video of the play, plus Jon Barry's laughable attempt to sanitize KG's potty mouth and a couple more up-close looks at the damage, after the jump.
At around the 20-second mark of the video clip, you can see the play on which Kevin Garnett got whacked in the back of the head. Man, that thing started to swell up fast:
A simultaneous tip of my cap and wag of my finger to ESPN's producers, who decided to give us a close-up, slow-mo shot of Kevin Garnett's mouth following the play. As if there was any chance that KG was going to say anything other than an unprintable four-letter word after getting smacked in the back of the head. It makes for a good laugh, but it also makes for color commentator Jon Barry making the snarkfisted remark that KG was saying, "That smarts," which was kind of dumb. When in doubt, Jon, just let Hubie Brown do more talking. And when there's no doubt, Jon, manufacture some.
A pair of closer looks:
Screenshots and video courtesy of @Jose3030.