Rockets’ Chris Paul makes circus layup vs. Timberwolves

April 19 (UPI) — Veteran point guard Chris Paul made an insanely difficult layup in the Houston Rockets’ second playoff win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He pulled off the magnificent maneuver with about eight minutes remaining in the Rockets’ 102-82 triumph Wednesday at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Paul started the play by dribbling past half-court. He then faced up with with Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica. He stalked his prey by doing some between the legs dribbles, getting the 6-foot-10, 230-pound defender off balance. Paul got Bjelica to dive in slightly, before he darted into the paint.

Paul easily got around the large defender, but Bjelica pulled on his left shoulder. Paul maintained control of the ball and jumped up, despite the contact. His body turned midair, so that he was facing the opposite direction of the rim. He threw up a backwards shot with his right hand. The ball took a few bounces on the rim before falling through the net, giving the Rockets a 91-65 advantage.

Paul scored a game-high 27 points and had eight assists, three rebounds, three steals and a block in the victory. Gerald Green poured in 21 points and had 12 rebounds off of the bench for the Rockets.

“I just tried to push the tempo,” Paul told reporters. “I tried to be aggressive. James hit me on the wing early in the game and I think I passed up a shot and he was like ‘shoot it.’ So, getting into the lane. Getting a couple of easy ones early I think helped us. Then defending.”

“When we defend and get out in transition, we’re tough to stop.”

Bjelica led the Timberwolves with 16 points. He also had eight rebounds.

The Rockets — who own a 2-0 series lead — battle the Timberwolves at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.