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Are the Trail Blazers Getting Worked Over by NBA Refs?

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The field is divided whether the Blazers are getting favorable or unfavorable calls this season.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers’ 2020-21 season has been marred by injuries, sprinkled with trade talk (plus one actual deal), and inundated with a torrent of high-powered scoring performances from Damian Lillard. Despite these trends, a theme has started to recur. “Are the referees being fair to the Blazers?”

This is not just an idle question, a pit into which every fan base falls. Lillard himself has begun to question the calls and methods of officials. Head Coach Terry Stotts earned the first ejection of his career this season. Blazer’s Edge GameDay Threads are full of questions about questionable calls.

On the other hand, voices of reason (which may include some of the Blazer’s Edge staff) have noticed that, anecdotally, referees have tended to give more consideration to the Blazers in general, and Lillard in particular, than we’re used to seeing.

Portland ranks 25th in the league in personal fouls committed per game and per possession, which is not an encouraging number. The also rank 22nd in personal fouls drawn per game, 23rd per possession. Last year they were solidly in the middle of the league in both categories, meaning something is going wrong(-er) this season. Is it bias, personnel, playing style, or what?

We’ll throw that open as the question of the day. As you respond, look right below this and see if you can donate a ticket or two to send 2000+ kids in need to see the Blazers play the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Moda Center on March 27th. We have all the requests in but not enough tickets to fill them!