Well, I figure we're close enough. Let's get this rolling.
I'm assuming the #7 spot is out of our reach, and that the teams below us (NY, Toronto, Washington) are not threats to catch us. So I'm only tracking Milwaukee, Chicago, New Jersey, Charlotte, and Indiana. Also, I won't start tracking tiebreakers until the last 5 Pacers games. That means we'll need to win outright in order to get the magic number. And we're off!
Milwaukee: 30-36 (16 games remaining)
Chicago: 29-36 (17 games remaining)
New Jersey: 28-35 (19 games remaining)
Charlotte: 28-35 (19 games remaining)
Indiana: 28-37 (17 games remaining)
Magic numbers are calculated by assuming that the rest of the teams win the remainder of their games. Then, every Pacers win or
loss reduces the magic number by 1. On nights where the Pacers win AND the other team loses, the magic number drops by at least 2. It's possible for such a win to decrease the magic number by 3, if it gives the Pacers the edge in head-to-head, which is the first tiebreaker. But like I said, I won't be calculating that until the last 5 games. So here are our possible finishes:
Milwaukee: 46 wins
Chicago: 46 wins
New Jersey: 47 wins
Charlotte: 47 wins
It's ironic that the top two teams (Milwaukee and Chicago) will actually be easier to catch than NJ and Charlotte, due to those teams having more games remaining. Pacers would need 48 wins to ensure success, which means 20 wins out of our next 17. No sweat!
So here's the final, as of March 10th. I'll update this nightly for the rest of the season.
Charlotte - 20
New Jersey - 20
Chicago - 19
Milwaukee - 19