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Pacers Links: Paul George teaming up for revamped NBA All-Star dunk contest

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The NBA altered the format for the All-Star slam dunk contest and one things that will help is the addition of young stars who will also be playing in the All-Star game on Sunday.

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With changes to the All-Star slam dunk contest and a group of other young stars willing to participate, Paul George decided to join the fray for the All-Star Saturday night event.

PG is the first slam dunk contestant to also start the big game on Sunday since Dwight Howard was doing his Superman thing against Nate Robinson.

Obviously, the event is pure entertainment and has nothing to do with what the Pacers are working toward this year, BUT...I do like to be entertained. So I do appreciate John Wall, Damian Lillard and PG getting together to add a little juice to the Saturday showcase.

The dunk contest also has new rules which should add a different feel to the event as the NBA explains here:

This year's event will feature the participants competing as a team - three players representing the Eastern Conference and three players representing the Western Conference - in an above-the-rim two-round format. In a significant first in the event's history, the competition will tip off with a Freestyle Round where the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to showcase as many dunks as they want. At the conclusion of the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will then choose a winner by voting "East" or "West." The winning conference will earn the advantage of deciding whether its dunkers will dunk first or second in the head-to-head battles that take place in the Battle Round.

The Battle Round will feature head-to-head matchups pitting East dunkers vs. West dunkers, with the judges choosing a winner for each battle. Upon losing a head-to-head battle, that dunker is then eliminated from the competition. The first team to win three battles will win the competition and be crowned 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk champions.

After the competition, fans will also have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice as "Dunker of the Night" through SMS, Twitter, and the NBA GameTime app.

No other Pacers will participate in the All-Star Saturday events, although associate head coach Nate McMillan will coach TEAM HILL in the rising stars game.

The Pacers return to action tonight when they host the Portland Trail Blazers in a rematch of one of the best NBA games this year when the Pacers lost in Portland despite 43 points from Paul George. Lance Stephenson is still feeling pain in his back but is still hoping to play on Friday.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Trail Blazers | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Trail Blazers-Pacers Preview - AP

By Popular Demand, Paul George Returns to the Dunk Contest | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Stephenson's status in doubt for Pacers game - Indy Star

Paul George to compete in dunk contest All-Star weekend - Indy Star

All-Star Saturday Gets A Makeover " Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith |

Hang Time One-On-one … With Lance Stephenson " Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith |

Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers game preview |

3-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest among 5 events for Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard at NBA All-Star weekend |

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers Preview - Blazer's Edge

NBA Star Paul George -- If The Baby's Mine, I'll Man Up ... Never Offered $1 Mil for Abortion |

Is the Dunk Contest Really That Bad? - Sonics Rising

The new rules make the NBA Slam Dunk Contest even better | For The Win