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Davis, Lakers hold off Warriors to win opener

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers competes for the ball with Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter in game one of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Chase Center on May 02, 2023 in San Francisco, California. Photo by EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Anthony Davis scored 30 points and led a defensive masterclass as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 117-112 on the road to take a 1-0 lead in their NBA Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday.

The eagerly anticipated showdown between the two Californian glamour clubs lived up to the billing as the Lakers held off a thrilling late Golden State rally to take a crucial early advantage against the NBA champions in the best-of-seven series.

The Lakers appeared to be cruising to victory after opening up a 14-point lead with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after a clinical defensive performance at San Francisco’s Chase Center.

But the Warriors came roaring back with a flurry of three-pointers and Stephen Curry knotted the score at 112-112 to complete a 14-0 Warriors run with 1min 38sec remaining.

Yet just when it looked as if the Warriors were building unstoppable momentum, the Lakers regrouped to snatch victory.

A D’Angelo Russell layup edged them back in front at 114-112 before a LeBron James free throw increased the Lakers lead to three.

Jordan Poole then missed a game-tying 27-foot three-point effort with 9.7sec left on the clock before the Lakers drew two free throws for German international Dennis Schroder to make the game safe.

“We know this team — they’re the defending champions,” Davis said. “No lead is safe against them, they can get hot at any moment.

“But this is just a mindset for our team, knowing we can beat this team, it’s a confidence-booster for us.

“We’ve been able to get this one in game one, but we haven’t done anything yet.”

Davis finished with 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks while James chipped in with 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Russell and Schroder added 19 points each while Austin Reaves finished with 10.

Curry led the Golden State scoring with 27 points including six three-pointers while Klay Thompson had 25, also with six from beyond the arc.

Game two in the series takes place in San Francisco on Thursday.

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