Paul George and Terrence Ross set for close Dunk Contest battle

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Whether you’re a die-hard basketball fan or just a casual observer, the lure of All Star Weekend never fails to coax in the fans, especially with the high-flying participants of the dunk contest coaxing ooohs, aaahs, gasps and applause from the crowd.

This year will be no different as the defending champion, a two-time All Star and four of the game’s brightest emerging talents do battle.

The format has changed slightly, reverting from an individual all-against-all duel into a team based event comprising of three members from each conference, but there will still be an outright individual winner voted for by the fans.

It looks likely to be a two-horse race though with 2013 champ and Toronto Raptor, Terrence Ross, battling All-Star guard, Paul George, from the Indiana Pacers.

That thought is reflected in the betting, with Ross the 9/4 favourite, leading the way over the 4/1-rated George.

Both men have already flexed their considerable dunking muscles, with Ross unleashing a huge slam over Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets at the start of the month, and George breaking out a jaw-dropping 360 windmill move on a breakaway play for the Pacers in mid-January.

The other member of the Western Conference’s team is Washington Wizards’ John Wall, who is stone-cold last in the betting at 11/2.

That’s a bit of a shock considering his known explosiveness and willingness to get to the rim, and a punt on him to win outright wouldn’t be as mad as the price indicates.

In the Western team, comprising of Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes and Sacramento Kings’ Ben McLemore, the trio are at a serious disadvantage.

None of them have build a reputation for in-game dunking and are unlikely to be able to stunt the power of the East’s three as the competition unfolds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.