The bruising blunder came with 9:02 remaining in the Bucks' 116-109 victory on Wednesday at Toyota Center in Houston. Milwaukee led 98-86 when Antetokounmpo began to back down Rockets forward P.J. Tucker.
The "Greek Freak" could not find his way to the basket, so he turned and used his right hand to heave a pass out to the wing. But the ball never got there. Antetokounmpo's attempt drilled Harden in the right side of the face and bounced back to the Bucks star.
Ersan Ilyasova made a 3-pointer to put the Bucks up 101-86 and end the painful possession. Antetokounmpo picked up the assist on the trey.
"I was like 'oh my bad.' I told him obviously, when we were running down the floor," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "I didn't mean to hit him in the head. I was trying to hit the guy in the corner. It was pretty hard. It was crazy because it was so hard ... To be able to bounce from my side of the floor to the other side of the floor. It was an accident but I'm so happy that it bounced back to me and Ersan was able to hit the three."
Harden still managed to pour in a game-high 42 points. He also had 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals in the loss. Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 21 rebounds and five assists for the Bucks.
"I didn't see it coming. That [expletive] hurt. I don't even know what happened," Harden said.