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(Reuters) - Stephen Curry won his personal duel with James Harden as the Golden State Warriors overcame an early deficit and survived a late scare to edge the Houston Rockets 110-106 in Game One of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday.
Curry poured in 34 points, six rebounds and five assists and added key buckets in the closing stages to give the top-seeded Warriors a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series in front of a raucous home crowd.
The Golden State fans were nervous early, however, when their team fell 16 points behind in the second quarter but the Warriors responded with a 16-2 run to seize control by halftime.
Harden, who finished runner-up to Curry for the regular season MVP award, nearly delivered a triple-double with 28 points 11 rebounds and nine assists, and caught fire in the second half to rally the Rockets.
Houston have already proven capable of comebacks in overcoming a 3-1 deficit to oust the Los Angeles Clippers in the last round and used a late 7-0 run to pull within 108-106 with 14 seconds remaining.
Curry, however, settled the nerves by making two free throws to seal things for Golden State, who got 18 points off the bench from Shaun Livingston.
Houston center Dwight Howard suffered a knee injury in the first quarter, returned for a while but left for good in the fourth.
Golden State will host Game Two on Thursday.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien