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Jalen Brunson, Knicks drop 8th game in last 11 with 110-99 loss to Warriors

Get used to this feeling. Games at Madison Square Garden are going to sting.

Until the Knicks get their starting forwards back from injury, they’ll be in a dogfight to retain their status as an outright playoff team.

Thursday night’s 110-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors did not help New York’s cause.

The Knicks have now lost eight of their last 11 games.

The skid directly coincides with the moment Julius Randle dislocated his right shoulder at the end of the Knicks’ blowout victory over the Miami Heat.

That was the last day OG Anunoby took the floor in orange and blue before discovering he needed surgery to remove a loose bone fragment from his right, shooting elbow.

The good news is Anunoby is on track to return in March, though it’s unclear when Randle will be comfortable enough to play with a shoulder potentially in need of offseason surgery.

The bad news, unfortunately, is Anunoby’s return won’t be fast enough to save the Knicks from plummeting down the Eastern Conference standings.

Plummeting is on the table. The Knicks are in a tailspin outside of their own control.

Thursday’s loss to the Warriors dropped the Knicks to just a 12-23 record against teams with winning records.

And here’s the kicker: Seven of the Knicks’ next nine opponents fit the description as above-.500 teams. The stretch culminates with a four-game West Coast road trip, including three games against championship contenders looming on the docket — at Sacramento, at Golden State, then at Denver, home to the reigning NBA champion Nuggets.

“I’m not sure what you all expect or what you all think. We are playing as best as we can with the bodies that we have,” said Josh Hart, who is filling in for Anunoby as the starting small forward. “We have guys like OG, Ju, [Mitchell Robinson], been out for a long time.

“We’re playing our asses off. It’s not like we’re just sitting there and crying about injuries and laying down. Nah, we’re grinding. We’re pushing ourselves. And once we get guys back we’re good.”

This extended skid comes at an inopportune moment for a Knicks team fighting to stay out of the Play-In Tournament.

The Eastern Conference playoff picture includes the Boston Celtics as the No. 1 seed, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks jockeying for second and third, then five teams within arm’s reach of one another competing for seeds Nos. 4-6.

The Knicks are still the No. 4 seed after Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, but they are only one game ahead of four teams tied for fifth place: Miami, Philadelphia, Indiana and Orlando.

Every win is critical. Every loss is worth twice its weight in the standings.

The standings, however, weren’t an issue when the Knicks were healthy.

The Knicks went 12-2 before Randle and Anunoby went down and 16-3 before additional injuries became insurmountable.

The organization is optimistic Anunoby and Randle will return with enough games to ramp themselves up into the playoffs.

The second half of the month of March could see both starters return to the floor, though Randle’s situation with a dislocated shoulder is trickier than Anunoby, who resumed on-court activities and is able to dribble, pass and shoot as of Thursday.

It’s unfair to have deep playoff expectations for a Knicks team missing its entire starting front court.

“I didn’t see anybody talking about the way we were playing before [the injuries] — nine [wins] in a row, 10 in a row, 15 out of 16. Take four starters, six rotation guys out of any lineup in the league they’re going to struggle,” said Hart. “I don’t care if they’re Boston with the best record or Detroit or Washington with the worst record. If you take that many guys out at the same time you’re going to struggle. That’s the reality of it.

“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll get guys back. We’re grinding. We’re pushing ourselves as much as we can. Once those guys are back the benefit of it is we get a fresh OG, a fresh Ju, hopefully a fresh Mitch, to make a run.”

The Knicks still have to fight to stay out of the sudden-death Play-In Tournament. It won’t be an easy battle without their key players.

The Magic have the easiest remaining schedule among all 30 NBA teams. The Heat have the fifth-easiest and the Sixers own the seventh-lightest schedule.

The Knicks stand at 15 — not too easy, not too difficult, until you account for their lack of healthy starters.

Even if Jalen Brunson continues to play at an All-Star level, it’s hard for the Knicks to beat quality opponents without their usual first string.

“Yeah I give our guys a lot of credit. They’ve been fighting all year,” said head coach Tom Thibodeau. “We’ve been shorthanded most of the year. So just keep fighting. Don’t look ahead, just look at what’s in front of us today. Tomorrow we’ll worry about tomorrow. Put each and everything you have into every day.”

The day will come, of course, when the Randle, Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson return to the fold. The Knicks are biding time until the day arrives.

“We’re confident,” said Isaiah Hartenstein. “We had a little stretch even after that when we were playing good. Then after that we had more injuries and then a whole bunch of guys out. And certain games where it was close at the end. Houston [lost on an incorrect foul call] was close. Then this last stretch has been a little tougher. But again, we have enough guys here. We’re confident in that until everyone comes back.”

Until then, it’s all hands on deck and everyone giving everything they have to help keep the ship afloat.

For Hart, it meant 47 minutes and 10 seconds in an 11-point loss to the Warriors.

For Hartenstein, it’s playing through an Achilles injury he believes he could have used more time resting before taking the floor again.

“There’s urgency. There’s urgency every single day,” he said. “I feel like that was the main thing of me wanting to come back. Just to make sure I’m here for my team.

“I probably could’ve sat out a couple more weeks. But to me, I think we found a perfect medium where we’re ramping it up at a good time. Just want to be here for the team.”