The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors rolled over the New Orleans Pelicans 123-101 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals Saturday night in Oakland.
Both squads' rosters are filled with talent and believers. Here's a look at three starters who will see a lot of playing time during the series.
The Warriors' Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, both outspoken Christians, gave God all of the glory after the team won the NBA Championship last year.
Durant was baptized at Hillsong New York City in 2013, but he said his faith journey started when he was 16.
"The Bible both pumps me up and balances me to play my best," the 6'9' forward said.
Durant wants his faith and humility to guide his life.
"The Bible says the Lord exalts humility and that's one thing I try to be all the time. When people tell me I'm great, I remind myself that I can always be better. Humility comes before honor," Durant is quoted in an article in the Gospel Herald.
Curry told CBN that their faith in God has played an important role in shaping the team's brotherhood.
"You ask anybody in their walk of faith – it's all about finding accountability partners and finding people that can encourage you in your walk," he said.
"We have a group chat – we call it the discipleship group where we share Bible verses every single day and kind of do a Bible study through text message," he explained.
"Every game day we probably have 10, 11 guys show up for the 30-minute Bible study, prayer service, daily encouragement that's the biggest thing. You can get lost in the daily routines and the hype of what we do on the floor and forget why we're here."
Curry's favorite verse is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It's written on his shoes when he goes out on the court.
He said it keeps him grounded even in the spotlight.
Curry explained how it is not about him to the audience at the Liberty University Convocation last year.
"The Lord has blessed me with these talents to do something special. But It's not about me. Winning games, losing games, missing shots, making shots, it doesn't matter. It's all about giving glory to God."
The Pelicans' Jrue Holiday says he understands the platform he has when he plays
"I try to take it and leave it in God's hands," he told the Christian Sports Journal last October.
"I try to do what He wants me to do and come out here and perform the best I can for my teammates. That's my responsibility," he said. "This is a tough league. Outside of basketball, the lifestyle is tough—the travel. Honestly, I think that responsibility is pretty tough but I don't believe that God gives us anything we can't handle."
Golden State and New Orleans Playoff Series Schedule
Game 1 in Oakland: Warriors win 123-101
Game 2 in Oakland: Tuesday, 5/1 @10:30 pm Eastern. Televised on TNT.
Game 3 in New Orleans: Friday, 5/4 @8:00 pm Eastern
Game 4 in New Orleans: Sunday, 5/6 @3:30 pm Eastern
Game 5 in Oakland: TBA (if necessary)
Game 6 in New Orleans: TBA (if necessary)
Game 7 in Oakland: TBA (if necessary)