There were no surprise T-shirts this year honoring his native Africa, no recent wrist injury limiting him to just 5 minutes, 51 seconds either.

Luol Deng played Sunday night how he approached his entire second straight All-Star appearance — with a steady professionalism and quiet appreciation for his non-flashy talents getting recognized.

"Every time you make it you should feel like you belong. Last year, I felt comfortable," he said. "But there is something even more special about being a repeat All-Star."

Last season in Orlando, just weeks after tearing a ligament in his left wrist, Deng played sparingly because Tom Thibodeau served as the East coach. Deng exceeded that playing time during his first-half stint alone Sunday and finished with 10 points and two rebounds in 17:05.

"Last year my wrist was hurting me," Deng admitted. "I felt it in the first quarter and I told (Thibodeau) I was done for the night. Tonight I just played, took shots and had fun."

Fittingly, Deng first checked in with Bulls teammate Joakim Noah at the 3:53 mark of the first quarter. Deng and Noah marked the second straight season the Bulls placed teammates on the East team, following Deng and Derrick Rose last season. Previously, it hadn't happened since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1997.

"It's cool," Deng said. "It's not my type of game, but it's fun. I played 'D' like once. That was a good feeling."

In the first quarter, Deng snuck a driving layup in between two missed 3-pointers, the second coming off a Noah-led fast break. In the second, he scored on a three-point play on a feed from Kyrie Irving.