is now... 10.
Any combination of 10 Blazer losses, or wins by the #8 seed (currently the Golden State Warriors), and the Blazers will be playing ping-pong for the fifth year in a row.
To compute the magic #, do the following:
Take the number of LOSSES of the trailing team (that's us--and that number is 32).
Add the number of WINS of the leading team (that's the Dubs--they now have 41 wins--for a sum of 73).
Subtract that number from the length of the NBA regular season (82)--82 - 73 = 9.
And add one additional game to avoid ties.
82 - (41 + 32) + 1 = 10.
If it were established that we would lose a tiebreaker to a given #8 seed (and thus we would be eliminated were we to tie them in the standings), then the last "+1" step could be avoided. But currently, we lead the season series with the Warriors 2-1, with one game left to play. I don't know who would win the subsequent tiebreak criteria should we lose the final game against GSW (the game will be in Oakland).
A bonus POLL question: When will the Blazers be eliminated from the playoffs?