Houston, Texas, USA: The Houston Rockets are headed to Minnesota, up 2-0, after a 102-82 rout of Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Playoffs Western Conference First Round Game 2 – played at the Toyota Center in Houston, Wednesday night.
The rout came the strength of a strong performance by Chris Paul and Gerald Green.
Chris Paul finished with 27 points, 8 assists and 3 steals while Gerald Green came off the bench to score 21. Paul had 15 points, three assists, two steals and a block by halftime.
Top seeded Houston fell behind early, but went on top for good with a 37-point second quarter, powered by four 3-pointers from Green, and the Wolves didn’t threaten again.
James Harden had just 12 points as one of four Rockets who finished in double figures.
Trevor Ariza had 15 points.
Houston was up by 22 points with about nine minutes left when Paul made two quick baskets to make it 91-65. The second came on a twirling off-balance layup over Nemanja Bjelica that earned him a standing ovation from the home crowd.
The Rockets were up by 15 at halftime and opened the second half with a 10-2 run to make it 65-42 with about nine minutes left in the third. Harden made his first 3-pointer to get things going after missing all six attempts in the first half, and P.J. Tucker added another one after two free throws by Jimmy Butler.
All-Star big man, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, had another disappointing game, scoring all of his five points in the first quarter, after finishing with eight in the series opener.
Jamal Crawford scored 16 points for the eighth-seeded Timberwolves, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
The Timberwolves had scored seven straight points later in the third when Green, the hometown player who was signed off the street in December, hit his fifth 3-pointer to leave the Rockets up 74-53 with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
The Timberwolves led by as many as nine early and the game was tied with about eight minutes left in the second quarter before Houston scored 16 straight points, highlighted by three 3-pointers from Green, to take a 46-30 lead with about 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
Minnesota missed six straight shots, including three that were blocked, and had committed two turnovers as the Rockets built the lead.
The series moves to Minnesota for Game 3 on Saturday.