I've said it for the last two weeks (since the Bulls came to Bankers life a few Fridays back); the Pacers needed to win 3 of these seven to stay in contention for the #1. Two weeks later and we've won 2 of the six. I'm not as worried about the San Antonio game as I would be if it were on the road but the Spurs are still the hottest team in the league right now.
In our final eight we have home games against San Antonio, Detroit, Atlanta and OKC. Our four road games are at Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami and Orlando. Assuming we can beat ATL & Detroit at home and Milwaukee & Orlando on the road (I know, that's a lot to assume right now), I think we'll need to win 1 of 3 against Spurs/Thunder/Raptors. Especially with the way the Heat game ended last week I don't see us waltzing into Miami and winning so I'm looking at us being dead even with the Heat (because we are only one up on them now) in a 7 game sprint to the end of the season.
Although Miami's schedule is very home-heavy, it still has 10 games left: Home vs. Toronto, Milwaukee, Minnesota, NYK, Brooklyn, us and Philly (outside of Milwaukee & Philly, any of those others could go either way given how they've played as of late). They still go on the road to Memphis, Atlanta & Washington (3 tough teams to play at home).
I think the Heat can/will win 6 of those seven home games and win 1, maybe two, on the road. That would put them at 7 of their final 10 meaning we'd have to win six of our final eight to finish with identical records and hold the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed. (Assuming we split the head-to-head, we currently have a 3 game lead in the next tiebreaker which is conference record). Six of our final eight are against the EC and eight of Miami's final 10 are against the EC.
My projection is that we lose to San Antonio but beat Det, ATL & OKC, lose at Miami and Toronto but win in Milwaukee and Orlando. If that's the case we need to hope for Miami to win only 7 of their final 10 (and hope one or 2 of those losses are to EC teams).
What do you guys think our record needs to be over these final 8 to limp into the first round with the #1 seed?