As Ben has mentioned below and as we've heard from several sources, Carmelo Anthony is out tonight with an elbow issue.
This is no guarantee of a win. As we found out in Utah a team missing a big star can still play well. In the NBA it seems like somebody always steps up in the short term in the absence of the main guy. Some teams actually play better for a game or two. The Nuggets have plenty of firepower and are not to be dismissed.
However this changes the complexion of the game tonight. The Blazers now need to make it their business to make sure Denver never gets off the ground tonight. We need to pound them, run them, and shoot them into submission, building a big early lead and making them fight to try and get back into it without their biggest scorer. The mindset shouldn't be staying even or giving ourselves a chance to win on the road. It should be destroying them. Whether the victory actually ends up huge or narrow won't matter, that's still the right approach. If we go in to stay close (or worse, go in thinking we can cruise now) we're more likely to end up on the losing end.
So...you want to be a playoff team? One of the qualities of such teams is that they have no mercy--zero--for whatever is going wrong for the guys in the other uniform. Let them make all the excuses they want. The win is the important thing.
This kind of chance won't come around too often.