Knicks put on rebounding clinic despite missing Robinson, Randle

The Knicks’ top two rebounders this year, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle, are sidelined along with OG Anunoby, but their replacement frontcourt continues the team’s league-leading performance in January into the new month.

Isaiah Hartenstein, Precious Achiuwa and Josh Hart combined for 47 rebounds, including 19 on the offensive glass, and the Knicks won their ninth straight with a 109-105 win over the Pacers at the Garden on Thursday.

“The ball went off the rim, so we all just try to get it back,” joked Hartenstein, who led the way with 19 rebounds (8 offensive rebounds). “No, it’s a collective effort. Just knowing that rebounding also wins games…we’re proud of that. And Precious and Josh, their play on the boards and their defense. This approach is a huge improvement.”

The thriving Knicks led the NBA in January with a 14-2 record and 48.1 boards per game, but Thursday night’s starting trio nearly matched that total, with Achiuwa scoring 16 points (offensive (8 points), and Hart added 12 points.

Isaiah Hartenstein had a dunk and grabbed 19 rebounds in the Knicks’ 109-105 win over the Pacers. AP

The Knicks finished the game 60-44 with plus-16 rebounds.

“I think they gave us great minutes and gave us a lot of toughness,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The rim protection was really good. Precious, I thought he had a tough game all night. [against Pascal Siakam]. Initially, we didn’t know how much he could play in four games. [power forward]and he’s doing a great job.

Precious Achiuwa, who had 16 rebounds, will look to get a shot during the Knicks' win.
Precious Achiuwa, who had 16 rebounds, will look to get a shot during the Knicks’ win. AP

“Isaiah is getting his rhythm back with some great hustle plays. … We’re asking a lot of them and Josh is playing every position on the floor. I don’t know what he is. is just a basketball player, and that’s what makes him great for us.”

Anunoby missed three straight games with elbow inflammation, but Thibodeau ruled the injury “routine” for the fourth straight day.

Quentin Grimes also sprained his knee on Thursday and was sidelined with an injury sustained in Tuesday’s win over Utah.