The Knicks went with a smaller starting lineup, and the side effect was utter domination on the boards. 

With backup guard Miles McBride replacing Precious Achiuwa in an injury-ravaged 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 take a 3-2 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 rout as the Knicks held a whopping 20-5 advantage in that category.

He had said after the previous blowout defeat that the Knicks didn’t play to their hardworking identity and needed to “get back to that” in their return to MSG. 

“I was physical. I feel like the games in Indiana, I wasn’t playing like myself, wasn’t physical,” Hartenstein said. “I was letting them kind of play how I play, so just coming in, that was the biggest thing I wanted to do. 

“What they did in Indiana, 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 again were without four frontcourt rotation 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. 

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Still, Tom Thibodeau replaced the 6-foot-8 Achiuwa with McBride to provide another ball handler and potential scorer alongside Jalen Brunson, who was hampered in the previous two games by a sore foot. 

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

Hartenstein scored only seven, but the 7-footer made a massive impact on the offensive glass, with his first eight rebounds in the game coming at that end.

He finished with 17 boards overall, 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’ve got to give Zae [Hartenstein] a tremendous amount of credit,” Hart said. “I think he had 12 offensive rebounds by himself. That’s something that we need him to do. … Obviously, great effort, and we need to keep that up.”

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