Our “Magic Number” is the number of Indy wins or other team’s losses that are required to secure a specific playoff spot.
I don’t see any way that we can catch Chicago and Miami, or be caught by the sub-500 teams New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, New Jersey, Washington, and Charlotte. That leaves Indy in a group of 5 teams: Orlando, Atlanta, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Here’s what we’ve got after tonight, then:
Team – (W-L) – Games Remaining
Orlando – (31-18) – 17
Atlanta – (29-20) – 17
Indiana – (28-19) – 19
Philadelphia – (27-21) – 18
Boston – (25-22) – 19
The highest number of wins Boston can get is their current win total (25) plus their games remaining (19). That gives 44, and the Pacers would have to get 45 wins to top them (I don’t count tiebreakers until the final weeks). The Pacers currently have 28 wins, and so they need a combination of 45-28=17 Pacer wins or Celtic losses to ensure the Pacers end up with a better record than the Celts. With that methodology, then, the magic numbers are as follows.
With 19 games remaining,
Orlando – 21
Atlanta – 19
Philadelphia – 18
Boston – 17
I'll be updating this every night for the rest of the season. Generally I'll just eyeball the scoreboard and update from there, but once a week or so I'll re-run the numbers from the standings just to make sure I haven't drifted.
In the meantime, let's hope for many losses for Orlando, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Boston. The Pacers have 19 games remaining, so all of these teams are well within our reach considering our supposed cakewalk schedule to end the season.