Jalen Brunson of the Knicks controls the ball against Chris...

Jalen Brunson of the Knicks controls the ball against Chris Paul of Golden State in the first half at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It was a day when anything felt possible.

If there’s a single moment when Knicks fans really felt on top of the world, it was exactly four weeks ago Thursday. On the same day that Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle were named to the All-Star Game, Brunson turned in the kind of emotional performance that made even the fiercest critics believers.

Playing in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd that was as loud as it had been in a regular-season game in maybe a decade, Brunson scored 40 points as the Knicks won their ninth straight game, overcoming a 15-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers. Afterward, Brunson teared up during his on-court interview as fans chanted “M-V-P!”

As memorable as that moment was, Knicks fans need to hope that it was not the zenith of their season.

The injury-plagued Knicks’ 110-99 loss to Golden State on Thursday night dropped them to 3-8 since that win over Indiana. At the start of this difficult stretch, the Knicks were in third place in the Eastern Conference with a 32-17 record that put them a half-game behind second-place Milwaukee. They now are in fourth place in the East with a 35-25 record that puts them four games behind the Cavaliers and Bucks, who are in a virtual tie for second.

With so many starters still injured, who is to say that the Knicks won’t drop further in the standings? They are precariously close to falling into play-in tournament territory. The Knicks are one game ahead of the 76ers, Magic and Pacers and 1 1⁄2 games ahead of the eighth-place Heat.

Before Miami lost to the Nuggets on Thursday night, the Knicks were lined up to play the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. After what happened last year, that might be exciting, but I can think of much more desirable first-round opponents.

All of this is why the 10-game stretch beginning with Thursday night’s game is so critical.

There are few easy outs in the bunch. The Knicks now will play at Cleveland and home against Atlanta and Orlando. Two home games against the 76ers will be followed by a brutal road trip to Portland, Sacramento, Golden State and Denver. Portland is the only team in that bunch that isn’t fighting for playoff positioning.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged in his pregame news conference that the past month has been tough on the team, but he was in no mood to look beyond Thursday night.

“Yeah, I give our guys a lot of credit. They’ve been fighting all year,” Thibodeau said. “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 Knicks got some good news on the injury front Thursday when it was announced that OG Anunoby had been cleared to start working out on the court again. Anunoby, who has surgery in early February to remove a bone fragment in his right elbow, has not been cleared for contact. He hasn’t played since Jan. 27.

Brunson was back on the court after missing the previous game with cervical spasms in his neck. If you ever want a full picture of just how ugly things could get for the Knicks, rewatch that game, Tuesday’s 115-92 loss to New Orleans.

Brunson has scored at least 30 points in 15 of his last 23 games. It appears he might have to do much of the same in the next month for the Knicks to avoid dropping into a difficult spot.

And then the question is how quickly the reinforcements can join him. Mitchell Robinson, who has been out since early December after undergoing surgery on his ankle, is out of his boot and working on his shooting. Anunoby appears to be headed back. The biggest question mark is Randle, who recently said he hasn’t ruled out shoulder surgery.

The Knicks are 6-8 since Randle was injured in the fourth quarter of a win over the Heat on Jan. 27, and it appears that Cleveland has replaced them as the up-and-coming threat in the East. Before the Golden State game, Shaquille O’Neal said on TNT that he can’t see the Knicks going anywhere without Randle.

The next three weeks may go a long way toward determining whether they have that chance.

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