It was Sunday afternoon, and Trail Blazers were winless in their first-round NBA Playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks. Guard Brandon Roy had already practiced, and watched film, and a couple of hours later, I pulled my rental car through the parking lot of the team hotel.

There Roy was.

Standing out front on the sidewalk.

Holding his wife's hand.

I will not soon forget that simple image. Roy in a plain white T-shirt, a pair of jean shorts and sneakers. His wife Tiana beside him, in a dress, a wife's left hand clutched in her husband's right. And the couple just stood in the turnaround, squinting into the sunshine.

"If Roy died right now the Blazers would be better off. I'm starting to think that's what it might take to get him out of here." – Mike, Salem

Before practice, I asked Roy if he hears the criticisms from Blazers fans, who email me and flood online comment boards. Nevermind the scoreless first half by two starters in Game 1. Nevermind the free-throw disparity. Nevermind that Portland held Dallas without a field goal for 11 beautiful minutes with the three-time All-Star on the court in the second half.

The loss is Roy's fault, right?

"I heard a guy at the Rose Garden the other night, yelling that I needed to get off the floor," Roy said. "I heard it. It hurt. I noticed it, not going to lie. I'm struggling to fit in. But it bothers me more than anyone when I feel like I'm out of rhythm.

"I'm doing my best."

Roy's had multiple knee surgeries. Both knees. His struggles aren't physical now, though. He says, "I'm trying to figure out when I'm supposed to take a shot, and when I'm supposed to distribute. I want to be aggressive, but I don't want to be out of character.