New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, right, argues with a...

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, right, argues with a referee against Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday at MSG. Credit: AP/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

If you want to incite a fit of rage from Tom Thibodeau, try to ask him about the big picture — a game that isn’t the one right in front of him, or the standings on any day except the last day of the season.

But you can be sure he knows, just as his Knicks players know and most of their fan base knows, too. There are five-plus weeks left in the season and the ascent through the standings has hit a wall. Now, the Eastern Conference playoff picture can shift with every miss or make.

After Tuesday’s shorthanded loss to Atlanta, and with 20 games remaining, the Knicks (36-26) find themselves in fifth place in the East, a half-game behind fourth-place Orlando. They are a half-game ahead of sixth-place Miami and one game ahead of seventh-place Philadelphia.

Five teams are within two games of each other from fourth to eighth in the conference.

The next three games, all at the Garden, have the Knicks hosting the Magic on Friday and then the Sixers twice in a three-day span.

“Sometimes when it pops up,” Josh Hart said when asked if he’s watching the standings. “I’m not thinking about it too much. At the end of the day, I feel if this team gets healthy we can make noise. Obviously, you don’t want to be in the play-in. You’d like to have that three or five days of rest going into the first round.

“It’s a cliché Thibs thing, but we’re just trying to take it one day at a time. Obviously, we’re going to get guys back soon but we have to keep pushing. At the end of the day, we are where we are and I like this team.”

The Heat are just one-half game behind the Knicks with one more meeting between the two in Miami in April. It all makes it hard to ignore, particularly when the Knicks have been trying to remain afloat with a makeshift roster, pieced and patched together with four starters sidelined Tuesday.

The Knicks are hopeful that Jalen Brunson’s absence with a knee contusion will be short. His MRI and X-ray came back clean and he felt better Tuesday than he did Sunday in Cleveland when he suffered the injury in the opening minute.

But if you don’t believe there is urgency just look at how the Knicks have handled his absence, along with those of Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson (with the first two of that trio expected back soon).

Deuce McBride came in for Brunson 47 seconds into the game Sunday in Cleveland and never sat for a second, then followed that up with 45 minutes, 38 seconds Tuesday. Hart has played at least 40 minutes in seven straight games.

McBride said of the standings watch: “Honestly, no. It’s hard just to keep up with it. Just gotta take it a game at a time.”

Eventually, those games will include a closer version of the team the Knicks believed they would be with some of the injured players expected back and the load lightened on the ones who have tried to keep the team in the race. The Knicks just have to hope that it’s soon enough to keep themselves tucked in a safe place in the tight standings to avoid a play-in game and that when the players get healthy, they stay healthy.

“You don’t want to see any of your players get hurt,” Thibodeau said. “I know the commitment that our guys have made, the sacrifices they’ve made. Obviously, you want to be at full strength. But injuries are part of the game and it’s ‘How quickly can we adapt as a team?’ That’s the challenge that we face.”

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months