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Knicks dominate the glass despite a smaller lineup in Game 5

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The Knicks went with a smaller starting lineup and the side effect was total dominance on the boards.

With backup guard Miles McBride replacing Precious Achiuwa in an injury-plagued starting five, Isaiah Hartenstein, Josh Hart and the Knicks destroyed the Pacers with a whopping 27-11 rebounding edge in the first half – and 53-29 overall – to a ​3 to grab. -2 lead in their second-round playoff series Tuesday night at the Garden.

Hartenstein, who was dealing with a pinched nerve in his left shoulder in Game 4, recorded 12 offensive rebounds in the 121-91 loss, while the Knicks held as much as a 20-5 lead in that category.

New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein jumps to block Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam during the first quarter. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

He had said after the previous big loss that the Knicks weren’t playing into their hard-working identity and that they had to “go back to that” upon their return to MSG.

“I was physical. I feel like the games in Indiana, I didn’t play like myself, they weren’t physical,” Hartenstein said. “I let them play the way I play, so just coming in, that was the biggest thing I wanted to do.

“What they did in Indiana, which no one was proud of, we were kind of in the mud, but still that can’t happen, so we just came together. We wanted to be more physical. We wanted to play Knicks basketball, and I think we got back to that.

The Knicks were again without four frontcourt players Tuesday night: Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic — all out for the season — and starting forward OG Anunoby, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury.

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart goes up for a shot as Indiana Pacers guard Ben Sheppard defends during the first quarter. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

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Still, Tom Thibodeau replaced the 6-foot-4 Achiuwa with McBride to provide a new ballhandler and potential scorer alongside Jalen Brunson, who had been hampered by a sore foot in the previous two games.

Brunson went off for 44 points in Game 5 on 18-for-35 shooting, while McBride contributed 17 points in 40 minutes.

New York Knicks guard Miles McBride jumps to defend against Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard during the third quarter. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Hartenstein only scored seven, but the 7-footer made a huge impact on the offensive glass, grabbing his first eight rebounds of the game on that end.

He finished with 17 boards total, with Hart grabbing 11 after managing just three in Game 4.

Hartenstein became the first Knick with 12 offensive rebounds in a postseason game in essentially 30 years since Charles Oakley did it on May 15, 1994 against the Bulls.

“You have to give Zae (Hartenstein) a lot of credit,” Hart said. “I think he had 12 offensive rebounds himself. That’s something we need him for. … Obviously it’s a big effort, and we have to keep it going.”




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