DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony had a nasty red scratch running down his left cheek courtesy of a fingernail from a Los Angeles Clippers player.
He's not sure of the exact culprit, only that the wound stung.
Outside of the scratch, it was a painless evening for Anthony and the Nuggets. The team snapped a three-game losing streak with a 123-107 victory over the Clippers on Friday night.
Anthony scored 24 points before sitting out the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. He didn't mind being a spectator in a blowout win -- the view was excellent.
"We're headed in the right direction when everybody's on the same page and playing defense like that," he said. "It's exciting to watch us play."
Allen Iverson scored 26 points, and J.R. Smith had 22, hitting six 3-pointers.
"We came out and used our energy, did everything it took to get a win," Iverson said.
The Nuggets were coming off their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 127-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. They blew a 17-point lead in the game against the Lakers.
Denver arrived back in town at 4:30 a.m. and looked fatigued in the early stages of the game, falling behind by 10 points.
But then Denver found its legs and were off to the races. Anthony's runner in the lane with 36.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter gave Denver a lead it would never relinquish.
Anthony Carter led the charge, finishing with a season-high 10 assists as he constantly pushed the pace.
"He's getting us some easy baskets," Anthony said.
Corey Maggette finished with 26 points, and Chris Kaman added 16, but was a rebound shy of his fourth straight double-double.
"We didn't have it. We haven't had it in a while," said Kaman, whose team has dropped six of their last seven games.
Brevin Knight said the Clippers simply let the Nuggets dictate the pace.
"They got flowing," said Knight, who scored a season-high 13 points. "They got into doing their thing and playing their game and we stopped doing what was going well for us. Any time you let a team that can score points like that get into a rhythm, you are going to be in trouble."
The Nuggets built the lead up to 20 points heading into the four quarter, and Los Angeles wasn't able trim the lead to under double digits. The Clippers went on a 9-0 run late to cut the lead to 12, but Denver's Yakhouba Diawara ended the threat with back-to-back 3-pointers with just over two minutes remaining.
Los Angeles played without guard Sam Cassell, who was hobbled by a strained left calf. Cassell was hurt while guarding Houston's Rafer Alston on Monday night.
Kenyon Martin logged more than 32 minutes Friday night, scoring nine points. The Nuggets are being cautious with Martin's gimpy knees.
"We were hungry," said Martin, who recently missed a game with a bone bruise in his right knee. "We needed this win."
With it, the Nuggets finish the month with 10 wins (the team is counting the victory on Oct. 31 as part of November).
Dinner is now on coach George Karl. Actually, he gladly would if he could.
"A 10-win month you celebrate -- you go out to dinner," Karl said. "I would buy them dinner (in the past) until the league said it was circumventing the salary cap."
Instead, the Nuggets will have to settle for his praise.
"A 10-win month is great," Karl said. "Now, I hope we can shoot for 10 wins in December, which would be nice."
- Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy remains stuck on 158 wins with the Clippers. He's tied with Jack Ramsay as the winningest coach in team history. His team has dropped four straight since tying Ramsay's mark.
- Anthony has scored 10 or more points in 147 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. Boston's Kevin Garnett had scored 10 or more in 411 straight games before an eight-point performance on Thursday night.