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  • 19 Apr 2014

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BRANDON: Blazers' start is contagious

It's contagious.

The Idaho Stampede, the Trail Blazers' NBA Development League affiliate, are 4-0 through Friday.

Guard Pierre Jackson, 5-11 from Baylor, leads the league with 31.0 points per game.

The Boise-based Stampede roster has some 2013 Blazer training campers, including 6-8 forward Richard Howell, who is averaging 21.3 points per game.

Another who tried out with the Blazers is former Oregon forward EJ Singler. He is coming off the bench and contributing 10.8 points in 22.0 minutes, shooting 58.3 percent on both 2-pointers and 3s.

• Here's hoping that the "creative marketing guy" — the label that Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan used — does not create any more snarky tweets like last week's dig at the NBA Eastern Conference.

To borrow another phrase, the Blazers need to "make it better" than that. If you wouldn't want your coach, general manager, players or owner to say it, you shouldn't officially tweet it as a league member, either.

The Blazers' basketball team is darn good, after years of trying in one way or another. They have to be the favorite at the moment to win the Western Conference, if not the league championship. The franchise doesn't need to make fun at other teams through social media to prove that or rub it in.

McGowan, in his remarks to the Portland City Club, said the team might not be so edgy in the future. But he called it a "good incident" and noted that the one tweet, which mocked half the other teams in the league, resulted in "3,000 new followers and four million views, which is significant. Typically on a game day we'll have 4,000 or 5,000 mentions. That night we had 21,000."

McGowan touched on a variety of other topics at the City Club in a Q&A with team broadcaster Mike Barrett — and offered a lot of insights on the club's business philosophy and good moves to improve its overall presence.

You can probably read more about that on Twitter.

• Various former Portland Winterhawks continue to shine in the NHL, and one of the brightest success stories/turnarounds is that of center Ryan Johansen.

Johansen, playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, had two assists Friday, giving him a career-high (and team-high) 22 points after 29 games. He also leads the club with 10 goals.

Johansen, 21, the No. 4 overall NHL pick by Columbus in 2010, has four goals and eight points in his last six games. He totaled 21 points in 67 games as a rookie in 2011-12.

• Huge blow to former Franklin High stars Shoni and Jude Schimmel and the Louisville Cardinals women's basketball team: Senior Antonita Slaughter will miss the rest of the season because of a blood clot in her lung.

Schlauter was the fifth-leading scorer (9.3 points per game) and a 3-point threat for the Cardinals, who made the NCAA championship game last season. She started 30 games as a junior.

Slaughter had a "seizure-like episode" during Tuesday night's victory against Missouri State and was rushed to a hospital.

Seventh-ranked Louisville was 7-1 through Friday. The Cardinals made the national final last season despite an assortment of player losses to injury.

• Saturday night at Corban in Salem, it's father-in-law Steve Masten coaching the host Warriors against son-in-law and former UO basketball star Luke Jackson, the first-year coach of Northwest Christian.

The Cascade Collegiate Conference game tips at 7:30 p.m., postponed one day by snow.

Masten's Corban squad is 3-4; Jackson's Beacons are 5-3.