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My wife Meredith and I are too cheap to pay for cable or any NBA TV package, so when we want to watch the Trail Blazers play, we usually make our way to a local bar together. However, this season I had to fend for myself for a handful of games.

For the past few seasons Meredith has been cultivating connections with the Blazers’ fan community via Twitter, and her Allen Crabbe inspired handle @CrabbePeople. What started half-jokingly as a South Park reference and nod to a rookie Crabbe, slowly turned into a full-fledged, live tweeting entity where Meredith made a lot of digital friends.

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(Mere and Tara)

One of those friends was Tara Bowen-Biggs, @tcbbiggs, A.K.A. “TeamMom.” Tara is an entrenched, tenured Blazer fan that does podcasts for Blazers Edge, an independent, grass-roots media outlet that focuses on the Blazers’ community. Tara, a self-proclaimed “serial group starter,” created Women’s Hops And Talks.

“Women’s Hops And Talks is a chance for women who love basketball to get together, talk about the game, ask questions, and not be embarrassed if we don’t know stuff,” Tara explained. “A lot of women who enjoy basketball [are] crazy about it, but we sometimes get intimidated because we’re afraid we don’t know all the answers. Hops And Talks gives us a chance to ask questions, learn about strategy, learn about the nuances of the game, and have a really good time doing it together.”

The group would occasionally meet in the back banquet room at the McMenamin’s Broadway Pub to watch Blazer games, and do Blazer themed trivia and drawings for fabulous swag, and prizes. From what I was told, they generally had a great time.

Lucky for me, last night Tara thought that the Blazers needed all the help they could get to battle the Golden State Warriors in game two of their playoff series. So spouses, friends, and family were all welcome to join Women’s Hops And Talks and cheer on the home squad.

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Unfortunately for us, the Blazers didn’t get the memo and got dropped like a bad habit, 110-81. Ouch.

There was no Kevin Durant last night, but despite that the Warriors established dominance quickly in the first quarter. They essentially steered the ship from wire to wire. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum battled much like they did in game one, spearheading a majority of the offensive attempts. Their leadership is always important, but it takes more than two men to win a basketball game. In game one Dame and CJ scored 75 of the Blazers’ 109 points, but last night they only chalked up 23 combined. Maurice Harkless also made his presence known with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. But again, you need a team to win. Two or three players against five doesn’t compute.

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(nabbed from trailblazers.com)

The Blazers had almost no ball movement the whole contest. Offense was forced, and not massaged like it should’ve been. With two minutes left in the 3rd, they were shooting a rancid 24% from the field. It was the kind of game that makes you want to gouge your eyes out. The Blazers did not look like a playoff team, and the Warriors handled them with ease.

The Blazers didn’t give Hops And Talks much to celebrate about last night, but the few instances when the Blazers had flashes of brilliance, the group roared with joy. Both doors to the banquet room had to be closed to sequester the rowdy crew from the other restaurant patrons. But, from where I was sitting, those thin doors probably did nothing. During commercial breaks Tara proctored 1992 Blazers’ era themed trivia. Heather and Jason America proved their Blazer knowledge and won a Damian Lillard autographed ball. Naturally, they were pleased with their prize.

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Even though the Blazers decided to sit one out, Tara and all those who attended the Hops And Talks gathering still beamed with optimism and unflinching fandom. Dame said the Blazers would win in six games. Just because they lost the first two doesn’t mean they can’t still accomplish that…

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(trailblazers.com)