Sixers, Pacers on similar paths

When Michael Jackson sang "Man in the Mirror" more than a quarter of a century ago, he doubtlessly didn’t think that it would be applicable to an NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

But there is a huge irony here.

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Danny Granger (33) of Pacers is congratulated by teammate Darren Collison during Indiana's win over the Celtics on Friday in Boston. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Last spring, the Sixers and the Pacers were the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively, in the Eastern Conference, and both were summarily dismissed by the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

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But here we are at the third week in the season and both teams are almost the spitting image of one another.

At 5-2, the Sixers lead the league in both fewest points allowed (85.6) and field goal percentage (39.5). They are coming off their best defensive performance in years, a game that saw them hold the Toronto Raptors to just 62 points, the fewest points allowed in the history of the Wells Fargo Center.

The Pacers are also markedly better, ranking third in the league in field goal defense (41 percent) and points allowed (89.3) this season.

And just like the Sixers, the Pacers are coming off their best defensive showing of the season.

In a 99-77 victory over Charlotte, the Pacers locked down defensively on the Bobcats in the second half, holding them to just 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting. This, after giving up 30 points in the first quarter.

Come back later tonight and we’ll take a look at Tuesday and Wednesday foes Sacramento (home) and New York (away).

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