NBA: Nets' Garnett tossed out after head-butting Howard

NEW YORK (AFP) - Kevin Garnett lost his cool and his Brooklyn Nets lost again on Monday, falling 99-113 to the Houston Rockets.

Garnett, known for his passion in a 20-year National Basketball Association career, played little over four minutes before he was ejected from the game for an altercation in which he head-butted Rockets centre Dwight Howard with 7min 53sec to play in the first quarter.

Howard was slapped with a technical foul after some testy shoving between the two but stayed in the game.

The Rockets were off to a hot start, making their first seven shots en route to a 23-14 lead.

Emotions were hot as well when Howard and Garnett tangled beneath the basket and the Nets veteran fired the ball toward Howard after the All-Star big man gave him a light push.

The two then stepped towards each other, and Garnett butted his head to Howard's jaw. Howard responded with an open right hand to the face before both players were restrained.

After order was restored, Houston was up by as many as 11 in the first quarter and owned a 37-28 advantage at period's end behind 15 points from James Harden.

Harden finished with 30 points, connecting on nine of 13 from the field as the Rockets posted their fourth straight victory.

Donatas Motiejunas contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds in the victory, with Josh Smith adding 13 points off the bench for Houston.

Howard scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds - and was booed every time he touched the ball after his run-in with Garnett.

The Nets dropped a season-high sixth straight.