The Knicks certainly have not played with their food, feasting all season on teams with losing records.
But Tom Thibodeau’s surging squad will face a couple of stern tests against last year’s NBA finalists in its next two games at the Garden.
Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets — the defending league champions who are once again near the top of the Western Conference standings at 31-14 — will make their lone MSG appearance of the season Thursday night.
The sides also will face each other in Denver on March 21.
The Heat, the team that ousted the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs last spring before losing to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals — will be in town on Saturday.
The Knicks’ splits between winning and losing teams has been well-documented, and they seem like pretty significant numbers once the playoffs arrive.
The Knicks are presently 20-1 this season against teams that were below the .500 mark through Tuesday, which means they are 7-16 against teams with winning records.
They had been undefeated against teams with losing records earlier in the week, but the Jazz — who defeated the Knicks in Utah in November — have slipped back under the .500 mark at 22-23 entering Thursday’s road game against the Wizards.
The 7-16 mark includes games against the Mavericks and the Magic, the only two losses in a 10-2 stretch since OG Anunoby’s debut on Jan. 1 following a trade with the Raptors.
Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (sore left Achilles) has been listed as questionable again for Thursday’s game after sitting out Tuesday’s win in Brooklyn.
It was his first scratch in two seasons with the Knicks, ending a 164-game games-played streak.
Little-used big man Jericho Sims started in his place and was active at both ends in a season-high 27 minutes — with six points, four rebounds and four blocked shots.
Precious Achiuwa also had his second straight strong game off the bench — averaging 12 points, 10 boards and 23 minutes in wins over the Raptors and Nets.
“Absolutely. Just getting a better feel for my teammates, understanding the way they play,” said Achiuwa, another imported component of the Anunoby deal. “That helps me understand the position I need to be in and making reads off of that is becoming a lot easier.”
The 6-foot-7 Anunoby, who has posted a plus rating in each of his 12 appearances and a league-high plus-201 overall since the trade, said he’ll be “ready” if asked to guard the 6-foot-11 Jokic.
“Yeah, I’ve guarded Jokic before,” Anunoby said after Tuesday’s game. “I don’t know who will guard him. Maybe if Isaiah is back, I don’t know, or Jericho or Precious, but I’m ready, too.”
Jokic, the two-time league MVP and the runner-up last year to 76ers center Joel Embiid, is averaging nearly a triple-double for the season with 26.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game over 44 appearances.