5 Teams the Philadelphia 76ers Must Sweep in 2012-13

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IOctober 19, 2012

5 Teams the Philadelphia 76ers Must Sweep in 2012-13

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    The Philadelphia 76ers are in for a tough schedule, but there are a specific handful of teams that they will come across numerous times that they need to sweep.

    With the a revamped roster and promising preseason, not only are expectations high, but the fans are also anticipating big matchups. For the first time in a long time, Philadelphia fans firmly believe they stand a legit chance against the elite teams in the league.

    Despite the optimism this brings, the Sixers still need to prove they can do this. If they and the fans want to consider themselves as one of the best, then they need to establish themselves during the season.

    Now, obviously sweeping a team is something hard to accomplish, but it is mainly about what they need to prove. Nonetheless, here are five teams the Sixers need to strive to sweep this season...

Atlanta Hawks

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    This is definitely more of a greedy pick, but it also holds expectations. The Hawks were the only team the Sixers swept last season that they played three times or more, and there is no reason the same result should not be repeated.

    The reason why the Sixers have fared so well against the Hawks is because Atlanta is also an undersized team. This allows the Sixers to get the best of ability out of players like Thaddeus Young because size is no longer an issue.

    Considering the the Hawks lost Joe Johnson and the Sixers added their plethora of players (and are no longer small), a sweep should not be far-fetched to expect. 

    The Hawks got worse and the Sixers got better. The Sixers are expected to win these games, which perfectly explains another look at this series: It is not just about the Hawks.

    That's right. Instead, it also symbolizes the principle of following through with what they should do. The Sixers have had a lot of problems with this in the past and it is important for them to show that it will not be the case this year.

    A sweep in this series would show the Sixers as a more legit force overall.

Brooklyn Nets

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    After finishing significantly out of the playoff picture last year and with new additions, there is no doubt that the Brooklyn Nets will try to make as much improvement as they can.

    This where the Sixers come into play. They need to shut down that goal. 

    Brooklyn definitely has the star power, but a major tone the Sixers have been carrying with themselves does not care for it. Sweeping the Nets would say a lot about the Sixers' philosophy.

    The Nets also provide a strong test for the Sixers' defense. If the Sixers' defense outplays the versatile Net's offense in every game, the Sixers will continue to solidify the pedigree of their defense.

Indiana Pacers

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    The Pacers are a team that were once considered in the same tier as Philadelphia—good core, but not much star power. However, after finishing third overall in the conference last year, they made their separation.

    The Sixers must show that they can keep up with them and are just as good.

    Last season Roy Hibbert and David West each served as a challenge to the undersized Sixers defense. In fact, in every game one of them was the leader in rebounds.

    Although with the help of Andrew Bynum, the Sixers should be able to pose stronger against the big men.

    Assuming the Chicago Bulls will slow down with the absence of Derrick Rose, both the Pacers and Sixers should be moving up the standings as a result. 

    The fact that these teams match up extremely well on paper tells us that neither team will get an easy victory. Nevertheless, after last season the Sixers need to make up some ground and the perfect opportunity to do so this season.

New York Knicks

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    The New York Knicks will always be a team the Sixers must look to establish supremacy on regardless of circumstances. Still, this year the circumstances call for the same cause as well. 

    The Knicks just edged out the Sixers for the seventh seed last year. This same margin will most likely occur again, and it is crucial for the Sixers to win the battle this time.

    Unfortunately we won't be seeing the great Carmelo Anthony versus Andre Iguodala matchup, but the outcome of the Bynum/Tyson Chandler matchup will have a huge effect on every game. Plus, it also provides more of a reason for Turner to breakout against New York.

    On a completely different note, I'm instituting a caption contest for the picture. Sound off!

Boston Celtics

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    After giving the Celtics a run for their money last year it could be argued that the Sixers have the potential to surpass them in the standings.

    That being said, we need to remember that Boston is a team that fares well in the regular season. They are an experienced squad who can come up clutch when it is asked of them.

    Philadelphia has not earned this vibe just yet, but defeating the Celtics on a consistent basis will certainly help them achieve the goal.

    The Sixers nor their fans did not forget about Game 7 last year (did anyone else develop such a strong hatred for Kevin Garnett but me?), and they will be entering every game against Boston with a chip on their shoulders seeking the revenge they deserve.