Basketball: Warriors get a scare from battle-hardened Pelicans in play-offs

OAKLAND, United States (AFP) - The Golden State Warriors powered to a big lead on Saturday but had to battle late to hold off the New Orleans Pelicans 106-99 in the first game of the NBA Western Conference play-offs.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points and the Warriors looked like living up to their status as the top team in the regular season with a blowout.

But the battle-hardened Pelicans, who did not lock up the last play-off berth in the West until the final night of the regular season, just would not go away.

New Orleans put together a 14-0 scoring run bridging the third and fourth quarters, trimming a 25-point deficit to 11.

They cut the deficit to four in the final minute but could not get any closer.

Anthony Davis came up big in his play-off debut for New Orleans, scoring 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter.

Elsewhere in the West, James Harden had 24 points for Houston as the Rockets launched their play-off campaign with a 118-108 victory over Dallas.