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Derrick Rose thanks his fans for voting him an All-Star starter

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire left defends as Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose right looks pass while Knicks guard

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire, left, defends as Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, right, looks to pass while Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) looks on in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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Updated: March 4, 2012 8:19AM

NEW YORK — A league MVP at 22, Derrick Rose is still young enough at 23 to get a kick out of being selected to the All-Star Game.

Rose was named a starter for the Eastern Conference team Thursday — his third consecutive All-Star selection in his four-year career and second consecutive start. He was the second-leading vote-getter (1,514,723) on the Eastern Conference team behind Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (1,600,390) and third overall behind the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (1,555,479).

“It means a lot, especially from our fans to vote for me,’’ said Rose. “I didn’t [realize] that I had all those votes. It shows a lot. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m appreciative of every one of my fans that went online and voted for me.”

The All-Star Game will be played on Feb. 26 in Orlando. Reserves, who are voted on by the 30 NBA head coaches, will be announced Feb. 9.

All-Star cast

Rose will be joined in the starting lineup by Howard, the Heat’s LeBron James (1,360,680 votes) and Dwyane Wade (1,334,223) and the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (1,041,290).

The West starters are Bryant, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (1,345,566), the Clippers’ Chris Paul (1,138,743) and Blake Griffin (876,451) and the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum (1,051,945).

Injury update

Richard Hamilton missed his third consecutive game with a left leg injury and his return date remains uncertain. Luol Deng missed his seventh straight game with a torn ligament in his left wrist but is ‘‘getting close,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. The Bulls next play Saturday at the Bucks.

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