DENVER — This Clippers train just keeps on rolling, getting so many hands helping during a 104-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night that pushed L.A.'s winning streak to five straight.
The hands of Kenyon Martin provided two of the biggest plays when the game hung in the balance. One of the plays was a rebound basket — his only rebound of the game — and the other a blocked shot.
The hands of Mo Williams provided big-time fourth-quarter three-pointers, one that saved the Clippers from committing a 24-second violation late in the game. Williams finished with 19 points off the bench, 14 in the fourth quarter. He was six for 11 from the field, four for seven from three-point range.
The hands of Chris Paul made the clutch free throws on a night when he was at times careless with the basketball. Paul had 21 points on eight-for-19 shooting. He also had eight assists and three turnovers.
Because of that trio, the Clippers fourth in the Western Conference, maintained a two-game lead over the fifth-place Memphis Grizzlies and remained half a game behind the third-place Lakers.
"It's about winning basketball," Martin said after the Clippers won for the 13th time in 15 games. "Never quit playing no matter what the situation is and always put yourself in the position to make plays."
Which is exactly what Martin did against his former teammates. He played on the Nuggets for the last seven seasons.
When Paul drove to the basket around Ty Lawson, his floater missed.
This time, Paul was saved by Martin, who tipped in the miss with 27.1 seconds left, giving the Clippers a 98-96 lead.
"At that point in the game, all bets are off for rebounds," said Martin, who finished with seven points. "I pushed [Kenneth] Faried up under the basket. I got into his body early because he was ball-watching and the ball came out perfect."
Martin wasn't done providing big plays.
Lawson (24 points) cut back door on Paul and took a lob pass from Andre Miller. Lawson caught the ball, came down and tried to score on the other side of the basket.
But Martin had sunk down on defense and blocked the shot. "Ty never saw me," said Martin, who had two blocks. "I'm just trying to make a play to put us in the best position to win."
Randy Foye got the rebound after Martin's block, and the Clippers called time out with 19.9 seconds left.
Paul took the inbounds pass and was fouled by Miller.
Paul made both free throws for a 100-96 Clippers lead with 18.3 seconds left.
Williams made two free throws for a 102-98 lead, but that wasn't as big as the 34-foot three-pointer he made late in the fourth quarter to beat the 24-second clock.
That gave the Clippers a 95-89 lead. The Nuggets would fight back to tie the score, 96-96. But then Martin's tip-in put the Clippers ahead to stay.
"In my mind, I thought I could make that shot," Williams said. "The percentage of making that show is low, but it ain't zero. But this was just a good win for us. Everybody contributed."