HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden predicted Chris Paul would "come back and drop 30" after not playing his best in Houston's playoff opener. Close enough.

Paul had 27 points and Gerald Green came off the bench to score a playoff career-high 21 as the Rockets used a huge second quarter to cruise to a 102-82 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night that gave them a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Paul, a nine-time All-Star, scored 14 points and tied a season high with six turnovers in the first game. Early on, it was clear that Paul wouldn't struggle again as he had 15 points, three assists, two steals and a block by halftime.

Paul, who joined the Rockets in an offseason trade from the Clippers, finished with eight assists and three steals.

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.

The top-seeded Rockets won the opener by three behind a 44-point performance from James Harden on a night when most of the team struggled offensively. Things were much different Wednesday when Harden went 2 for 18 and had just 12 points as one of four Rockets who finished in double figures.

Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns had another disappointing game, scoring all of his five points in the first quarter after being criticized for finishing with eight in the series opener.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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