Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

After the last two home games, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has left the arena with a zip-lock bag of tortilla chips and a bowl of guacamole, courtesy of the Moda Center kitchen.

They are a special request by the franchise star, who has found the arena’s chip-and-dip – particularly the guacamole -- to be exemplary.

It helps, too, that the snack happens to fit into his new vegan diet, adopted in part this summer to help Lillard get from 198 pounds to his desired weight of 190.

But these days in this basketball crazed city, some are wondering if there is a connection between Lillard’s early-season shooting woes and his decision to adopt a vegan diet this summer.

So, I took the bullet Saturday and asked Lillard if he was sure his shot wasn’t off because of his new diet.

“I mean, it’s basketball, so I can’t blame making or missing shots on what I’m eating,’’ Lillard said. “If that’s the case, then … that’s crazy.’’

Lillard through six games has made 40-of-108 shots, or 37 percent of his shots. He is coming off a career-high 44.4 percent shooting last season, and is a career 43 percent shooter.

He has said his shot feels good, and that he is not worried. And he says his mind is trained to fight through it thanks to his workout sessions with Phil Beckner, his former college assistant coach who helps him train in the offseason.

Lillard said Beckner would train his mind to not dwell on misses during workouts, and to shoot through the lulls.


“I think because of that, I’m able to move onto the next thing,’’ Lillard said.

The next thing for Lillard and the Blazers is Monday night, against Toronto. Last season, in his only game against Toronto, Lillard had 28 points and hit 10-of-20 shots, including 4-of-7 from three-point range.

Today's Blazers' links:

How to watch tonight's Blazers-Raptors game.

NBC Sports Northwest's Dwight Jaynes wonders about the Blazers' ball movement.

Chris Haynes at ESPN says Neil Olshey was investigated by NBA for a hand gesture after the Clippers game.

Rip City Project looks at how former Blazers players are doing this season.