On paper, Sunday seemed like the start of something really good for the Knicks: Nine consecutive games mainly against NBA standings bottom-feeders. Only one team, the Pacers who are Monday’s opponent in Indiana, resided above .500. And the Pacers did so by one game. Yup, looking good.

But the Knicks needed to start the run without Kristaps Porzingis who has a bum ankle and an illness. OK, they beat Miami after Porzingis went out early in that game. Maybe they could handle 9-14 Orlando in the Garden. Then came news on Tim Hardaway Jr.

He has a stress injury in his lower left leg. He missed Orlando. He will miss Indiana, at least. Porzingis also will skip the trip to the 12-11 Pacers.

“We knew for a day or two that KP is dealing with his injury and sickness,” said fill-in starter Michael Beasley. “Tim was definitely a surprise to all of us.”

All of a sudden, that upcoming stretch doesn’t look like such a cakewalk, depending on the severity of Hardaway’s injury. The Knicks said he was examined pregame, ruled out and no one seemed certain of how long the absence will last.

“It’s in his shin. He had soreness the last few days. The doctors evaluated him before the game. They said that he couldn’t go,” said coach Jeff Hornacek, who responded simply, “We certainly hope not” when asked if Hardaway could be lost for an extended period.