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Clippers hope that the Camby Man can

Yes, the Clippers have things going on other than Zach (Randolph) Mania.

In addition to Randolph making his Clippers' debut Wednesday night at Staples Center, another compelling storyline will unfold: Marcus Camby playing his first game against his old teammates, the Denver Nuggets.

Though Camby downplayed the event as "just another game," it remains clear that his feelings for his former teammates and the coaches run deep.

Marcus Camby reacts during a Nov. 12 game against the 
Sacramento Kings. "I've known those guys for six years," he said. "Those guys are going to be life-long friends, life-long brothers. It's always good to see those guys even though we're not on the same team. We definitely keep in close contact, via phone conversations, via text messages. We're still close."

In fact, they've been quite supportive, taking note of the Clippers' 2-12 record.

"They're just telling me to keep my head up," he said. "Even on this East Coast trip, I've seen the Denver scouts. They came up to the side of the court and were talking to me and said how much they missed me and just telling me they still wished I was in Denver and stuff like that. To keep my head up. They know we're going through a tough time right here."

Camby also talked about this being the third time the Clippers have faced the Nuggets. He was injured for an exhibition game and did not play in their only regular-season meeting so far, which ended in a Denver victory in overtime.

"We're tired of seeing each other," he said, smiling. "I think we're both going to wear out our welcome. Like I said, it's always good to see those guys. There won't be dinner tonight."

One of my colleagues in Denver sent a sampling of comments from the Nuggets about life in the post-Camby era.

Carmelo Anthony: "It was tough, but we have to move on from that. It's tough seeing him in a Clippers jersey. But we have to get comfortable with the team that we had."

Linas Kleiza: "He's just a great guy, very professional about what he does. We definitely miss him around here. He's just one of those guys you don't want to play against. He can come from anywhere and block your shot. It's going to be tough, a good challenge. He's going to want to prove his point, and we're going to want to prove our point. It should be a fun game -- he's still our brother."

Coach George Karl: "His instincts, he actually has 'perimeter' skills in his rebounding. I think when you have him on your team, you don't evaluate it like that, you just say, 'Well I'm glad we have him.' But you watch him on film, you say, 'Wow. He gets around a lot of balls.' Instinctively, he's driven by that. And he reads the ball before it hits the rim as much as any player I've seen in a long time."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Marcus Camby reacts during a Nov. 12 game against the Sacramento Kings. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

 
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