Lakers hold off Warriors to win opener

Anthony Davis (3) of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Draymond Green (23) of the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Chase Center on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in San Francisco, California. AFP PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO, California: 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 (Wednesday in Manila).

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 one minute and 38 seconds 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 9.7 seconds left on the clock before the Lakers drew two free throws for Dennis Schröder to make the game safe.

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.

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.

Knicks get even

In New York, Jalen Brunson scored 30 points as the New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat, 111-105, to square their Eastern Conference playoff semifinal series at 1-1.

Brunson shot 10-of-19 from the field including six from three-point range as the Knicks finally overpowered a gutsy Miami line-up playing without injured talisman Jimmy Butler.

A tense duel that saw the lead change hands 16 times was finally settled in the fourth quarter as the Knicks stitched together a 12-3 run midway through the period that included a Brunson three-pointer.

It gave New York a 99-96 lead, and that rally proved decisive as they held on down the stretch to extend their lead to eight points with just over 30 seconds remaining.

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