Kaman had 21 boards along with 17 points Wednesday night, and the Clippers got significant contributions off the bench from Cuttino Mobley and defensive specialist Quinton Ross to beat the Nuggets 101-90.
"I'm happy that Q Ross and Chris Kaman helped us out, because the more they help us out, the easier it us for people like myself to take over," Mobley said.
Mobley, hobbled by a groin strain, had 14 points in 32 minutes. The victory was Mike Dunleavy's 158th as Clippers coach, tying the franchise record set by Jack Ramsay when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves.
"It's huge, man," Mobley said. "I was going to try to sit out a week to try and get my leg 100 percent, but Coach needed me. He said, 'If you could squeak one of these out for us, that will help us down the line.' I'm all about the team, man. I can get guys open shots and create some for myself."
Ross had 17 points for the banged-up Clippers, who had lost four of five following a 4-0 start. They started three players who usually come off the bench, including guards Ruben Patterson and Brevin Knight, who played only 14 minutes and left the game in the third quarter with a groin strain.
Al Thornton, the Clippers' No. 1 draft pick, started for the first time in his NBA career and had 12 points in 21 minutes.
Allen Iverson had 29 points and nine assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 24 points for the Nuggets, who shot 39 percent and were 4-for-22 from 3-point range. Camby added 18 points and 18 rebounds in a spirited duel with Kaman.
"Kaman's a force," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I thought we did a good job on him most of the night, but he's a force and he's become a big part of the Clippers' personality."
Kenyon Martin, 16-for-23 from the field over his previous three games, missed all five shots and played 23 scoreless minutes. Eduardo Najera, the first player off the Denver bench, picked up three fouls in his first six minutes on the court. The Nuggets' reserves were outscored 50-19 by their Clippers counterparts.
Clippers longtime owner Donald Sterling uncharacteristically got off his front-row seat at midcourt three times in the first quarter to vent his anger at the officials. The usually stone-faced Sterling yelled at Leroy Richardson after one sequence in which Iverson stole the ball from Mobley and was fouled by Ross with 3:10 left in the quarter.
After Iverson sank both free throws, Sterling hollered something else at Richardson with his hands cupping his mouth as the referee jogged up the court. He got up again during a timeout and walked up and down the sideline looking for Richardson to give him another earful. By then, eight fouls had been called against the Clippers -- six more than the Nuggets had.
"You should have taken a picture of it -- because you might never see it again," point guard Sam Cassell said with a laugh.
Anthony, playing with five fouls, hit a 3-pointer that cut the Clippers' lead to 88-81 with 6:01 to play. But Tim Thomas responded with a pair of 3-pointers 37 seconds apart for a 94-83 margin, and Denver never threatened after that.
"We played good defense down the stretch, but Tim started hitting some shots and did us in," Iverson said.
Iverson was 11-for-19, but missed 5 of 12 free throws and committed eight of Denver's 14 turnovers.
"He got going a little bit early with some free throws and some easy shots, and we tried to lock down on him in the second half," Kaman said. "To me, the guy who did the greatest job was Quinton Ross. He played Iverson, he played Carmelo, and he made shots. He's the guy who no one talks about, but he's there all the time ready to play defense."
Thornton's 16-footer with 2:42 left in the third quarter increased the Clippers' margin to 72-61, the first double-digit lead by either team. Cassell, who missed the morning shootaround because of illness, made his first appearance 18 seconds later and quarterbacked the team the rest of the way.
"I wasn't feeling good earlier today, but I got some fluids in my body, went to the doctor and got some medicine and some rest," said Cassell, who turned 38 years old Sunday. "I felt a little woozy, but when I got to the arena, I was ready to play ball," Cassell said.
"Once you get on the court, all that goes out the window. I just came in and did what I could do to secure the win. It was shocking that I got in that late, but we won the game, so I ain't tripping."
- The Clippers are 18-49 in the regular season against teams Karl has coached. The Nuggets are 20-26 against teams coached by Dunleavy.
- The Clippers used a 19-5 run to build a 45-37 lead with 2:58 left in the second quarter.