I watched the last five minutes of the Nuggets-Blazers game this evening plus a little bit of overtime, and a feeling of peacefulness and clarity settled upon me: Now I remember why I hate the NBA. The frickin’ refs are terrible. When Portland was good (and I cared), I frequently raged about how Shaq committed an offensive foul virtually every time down the floor and not only almost never got called for it, but often drew a foul against his now-flattened defender.

This Blazer squad is nowhere near good enough to care what the refs call regarding Shaq, but they certainly got jobbed by the zebras against Denver this evening. Even with the catastrophic 24-second shot clock violation in the final minute, they would’ve been fine had even one of several obvious calls gone their way. I know you can’t expect miracles or even fairness when you’re on the road, but it’d be nice if the officials pretended they were impartial. I mean, good grief, when you’re nearing pro wrestling on the partiality-o-meter, it should be a sign.

None of which negates the fact that other than monster shot-blocker Theo Ratcliff and Mr. Hustle Ruben Patterson, nobody on this team can play a lick of defense. Carmelo Anthony finished with 30, but without Theo—usually the only guy to contest Melo’s drives to the hoop as his own defender stood helpless at the top of the key—Melo drops at least another 10.

So it looks like the Trail Blazers are out of the playoffs for the first time in some 20+ years. I care little, I guess, but if they played good team defense and the NBA refs didn’t stink, I’d care a whole lot more.