Heading into the final day of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, no fewer than eight playoff spots were still up for grabs. But now that the dust has settled and every postseason berth is set in stone, it's time to look ahead to the first round of playoff action.
Intriguing matchups abound, as the injury-riddled New York Knicks take on their Atlantic Division nemesis, the Boston Celtics. Anyone familiar with the history of those two teams knows that Paul Pierce is more than happy to see the Orange and Blue in his future.
Plus, the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors are set to do battle in a high-octane (and occasionally high-altitude) track meet. That one could be decided by the health of a certain beastly power forward.
And, of course, the Los Angeles Lakers somehow managed to secure the No. 7 seed and a date with the San Antonio Spurs with their overtime victory over the Houston Rockets Wednesday night—a series that could be decided by the Spurs' faltering health.
The playoffs are upon us, folks. Here's one thing to keep an eye on in every first-round series.