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Feb 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Western Conference guard Chris Paul (3) of the Los Angeles Clippers is congratulated by Eastern Conference center Joakim Noah (13) of the Chicago Bulls before being awarded with the game MVP trophy after the 2013 NBA all star game at the Toyota Center. West won 143-138. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NBA All-Star 2013: Joakim Noah and Luol Deng Ball Out

Playing in his first All-Star game ever, Joakim Noah proved he’s just as good as anyone else, posting 8 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes, including the final three minutes of action as the East mounted a desperate comeback that ultimately fell short. The West won, 143-138.

Luol Deng also had a decent game, scoring 10 points in 17 minutes, although he was just 4/10 from the field and 1/5 from three. But his work — along with Noah and former Bull Tyson Chandler — on the East’s bench unit helped keep the game close down the stretch.

Noah caused a bit of a stir with his trademark intensity in an event that generally lacks such things. He consistently rotated correctly on defense, even as nobody else had any interest in doing so, and he fought for boards with vigor. Perhaps the best example is his defense on Chris Paul’s dagger three in the final minutes.

Joakim Noah guards Chris Paul down the stretch of the 2013 NBA All-Star game. Credit: @cjzero

Paul may have hit the shot, but that’s hardly Noah’s fault.

Noah also crossed up Zach Randolph pretty good en route to two of his 8 points.

Now, Deng and Noah have a day to rest before the Chicago Bulls head to New Orleans to take on the New Orleans Hornets for the final time before they become the New Orleans Pelicans.

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Tags: Joakim Noah Luol Deng NBA All-Star 2013

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