The 2013 NBA playoffs are going to be special. Right out of the gate, there are a number of excellent matchups that are certain to please fans.
There needs to be a good mix of characteristics to make a series entertaining. The matchup not only needs to be close, but also full of great players and interesting storylines.
Of course, the organizations alone can go a long way. The battle between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers will create plenty of drama, but the aging teams without Kobe Bryant will only make a lackluster series.
Instead, here are the top matchups to watch over the next few weeks.
No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets
Although Oklahoma City is favored to win relatively easily in this matchup, you can be certain every game is going to be entertaining.
With two of the top three scoring offenses in the NBA, these squads will continue to play a fast-paced attack and put up loads of points in every game.
In addition, the series features three of the top six scorers in the league, all of which used to play together last season. James Harden will try to take revenge on the Thunder after being traded away during the offseason, and he is very likely to have a big-time showing in these games.
Add in the strong play of young stars like Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Serge Ibaka, and this is going to be a great series.
No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics
If the Knicks and Celtics were battling in the first month of the regular season, the rivalry would make it a game worth watching. The fact that these squads are battling in the playoffs makes this so much better.
Carmelo Anthony is playing as well as anyone in the league right now and ended the year as the scoring champ. He's averaging 36.9 points per game so far this month.
However, the Celtics are better than your average No. 7 seed. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett missed a good part of the season, but they are fresh at this point and will use their experience to win multiple games in this series.
Plus, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley have stepped up when the team needed it, and they will provide plenty of production in the postseason.
New York is one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but this will not be an easy first-round matchup.
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies
This series matches up star power against team efficiency.
Memphis has the best scoring defense in the NBA and it is incredibly difficult for any team to get open shots. Since Rudy Gay was traded, the offense has also improved as the players take better shots and are more effective.
On the other side, Los Angeles runs a fast-paced attack that features some high-flying dunks. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will connect for plenty of alley-oops in this one.
These teams played seven games in the first round of last year's playoffs with the Clippers advancing to the next round. With these two evenly matched teams, it would be surprising if this matchup does not go to Game 7 once again.