For the ringleaders of what is allegedly the NBA's least-liked team, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did not appear to suffer much in fan voting for the All-Star Game.
Both Heat stars received more than 2 million votes and will start for the East on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.
"You don't really think about what other people may say,'' James said before last night's game at the Garden.
"We've got a lot of fans out there and we try to represent our team, represent our franchise the right way every time we step on the basketball court. The fact we have so many votes by these fans is very humbling. We appreciate it."
The other East starters include Amar'e Stoudemire, the first Knick elected to start by fans since Patrick Ewing in 1997 and only the fifth to receive that honor since fan voting began in the 1974-75 season.
Guard Derrick Rose is the Bulls' first starter since Michael Jordan in 1998 and Magic center Dwight Howard got 2.099 million votes to lead the East overall.
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant was the leading overall vote-getter with 2.38 million. His 13th All-Star appearance will move him within one of the record shared by Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal.
The other West starters are the Hornets' Chris Paul, the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder's Kevin Durant and the Rockets' Yao Ming, who is injured and will not play. He received his customary support from voters in his native China.
Coaches will choose the reserves.
Stoudemire edged Kevin Garnett for the second forward berth in the East after James, 1.67 million votes to 1.4 million.
The Knicks' Raymond Felton was fifth among Eastern guards and Danilo Gallinari finished seventh among forwards.
With Alan Hahn
and Kimberley A. Martin