I officiated basketball in college and it is a hard job. It’s hard to not be caught up in the flow/energy of the game, from players to coaches to fans. It’s hard to not give a really easy call back after you make a bad one on the same team.
All that said, the NBA should have the best refs in there. They’re getting paid, they’re experienced, they’re unionized, they’re trained. There are bad calls in all sports, including in championships. But when there is such dramatic inconsistency and it all goes in the same direction, it’s hard to not think the worst.
Personally I’ve never bought the charges of the refs being in the bags for teams picked by the league. But I do think that refs internalize who is great and who is not. The NBA is a star’s league. And LeBron James & Dwayne Wade are known superstars, while Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are in their early twenties. That’s probably the extent of it. But it still sucks.
The refs aren’t the sole reason the Thunder have lost three in a row, but they’re a non-insignificant part of it. Playing when someone has their thumb on the scale is hard.