It's not that Chris Kaman put on a construction hat and solely excavated the Clippers from the deep hole they've been digging.
But it seemed like it for a while.
Kaman went to work, early and often Friday, helping the Clippers burrow from a big deficit before the rest of the team joined him, banding together for a 97-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings in front of 13,094 at Arco Arena.
The demons demolished:
A seven-game losing streak.
A five-game road losing streak.
And a win in Sacramento for only the second time in 18 tries.
"Come on," Coach Mike Dunleavy said when asked if he was relieved with the win, his exhale clearly saying enough. "Of course. I definitely didn't want No. 8.
"The only way you can start a streak is by winning the first one."
Kaman matched his career high of 26 points on nine-for-12 shooting and collected 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season, already matching his total for 2006-07.
"I just try to do what I'm supposed to do for this team," Kaman said. "Try to make the fewest mistakes offensively and defensively and trying to get those easy opportunities and taking advantage of them."
The Clippers (7-11), who moved into a fourth-place tie with the Kings in the Pacific Division, return home for more of a pit stop than a homestand with a game against the Miami Heat on Sunday before returning to the road.
They received a much-needed bench boost from Ruben Patterson, whose minutes had slipped in recent games, and Cuttino Mobley, who scored 12 points on five-for-seven shooting.
Patterson, who is nearly fully recovered from a dislocated pinkie on his shooting hand, bulldogged his way for 10 points, five rebounds and four steals.
"It was a big win," Patterson said. "I'm glad we got the monkey off our back."
Corey Maggette had 18 points and Tim Thomas had 17 and five assists for the Clippers, who shot 48% from the field and trailed by as many as 13 points.
"I thought this team just outplayed us tonight," Kings Coach Reggie Theus said. "They were more physical around the basket."
It was the Clippers against the Kings. Then again, it was the injured against the injured.
On one side, the Clippers were without Elton Brand, Shaun Livingston and Sam Cassell.
On the other, the Kings, without point guard Mike Bibby, leading scorer Kevin Martin and forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
But the game was scheduled, the teams with no choice but to trudge on, and Kaman's effort finally paying off in a win.
He has been the Clippers' most consistent player this season, keeping the team in many of its recent near misses.
"He's just been rock solid for us," Dunleavy said. "Each game on the boards, his scoring, his passing, his shot blocking. He's been as good as anybody in doing those things."
The Clippers started the game with fluidity on offense not seen in recent games with each of the starters quickly scoring. But the offense tapered off and the Kings were up, 52-41, at halftime.
At the break, Dunleavy told his players they could only win the game on the defensive side and they limited the Kings to 10-for-36 shooting the rest of the way. Ron Artest had 21 points on eight-for-22 shooting.
The Clippers will look to extend the effort into something bigger and return to being the team that started the season 4-0.
"Man, I hope so," Maggette said. "It feels good for the team to weather the storm, execute and come out and get this win."