Rapid Reaction: Knicks 104, Heat 84

WHAT IT MEANS: There hasn't been much to cheer about in New York over the past few days.

But for a few hours inside Madison Square Garden on Friday night, the Knicks gave a few thousand New Yorkers a reason to smile.

In the first major sporting event in New York City since Hurricane Sandy, the Knicks played near-flawless basketball in their win over the Miami Heat.

They shot 53 percent from beyond the arc and held the defending champs in check for long stretches in a 104-84 win.

MELO FELLOW: Before tipoff, Carmelo Anthony thanked Knicks fans for making it to the Garden despite the travel challenges associated with Sandy.

Then he showed them why they made the effort.

Anthony had a monstrous first quarter, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, benefitting from sharp penetration from Raymond Felton. The Heat, by the way, scored 17 points in the first. Anthony cooled off a bit from there, finishing with 30 points on 10-of-28 shooting.

Felton was strong in his first game in stint No. 2 in New York, scoring 14 points and handing out nine assists. The Knicks were plus-19 when Felton was on the court.

ON FIRE FROM 3: Steve Novak lit up the Heat in the second half from beyond the arc. After missing his only 3-point attempt in the first half, Novak drilled five of his next seven.

Novak knocked down four 3s in the third quarter alone, helping the Knicks build a 23-point lead. He finished with 17 points.

Overall, the Knicks hit 19 of 36 3-point attempts.

DEFENSE: The Knicks did a solid job defensively against the Heat, even suffocating the defending champs at times. They were sharp in their defensive rotations and guarded the perimeter well. Overall, Miami shot just 35 percent from 3. LeBron James had 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Dwyane Wade, who said before the game that he didn't think it was appropriate to play, finished with 15 points.

SHEED SIGHTING: The Garden crowd of 19,033 started chanting "Ra-sheed Wall-ace! Ra-sheed Wall-ace!" with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. Mike Woodson obliged, sending in the 38-year-old to makes his Knicks debut. He knocked down a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left, and the crowd exploded.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks face the Philadelphia 76ers in the first leg of a back-to-back on Sunday afternoon. They travel to Philadelphia on Monday. Will Andrew Bynum play? We'll see. He has been sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee.