Kevin Durant snared a kick-out pass from Serge Ibaka at the top of the 3-point line, rocked back and fired, letting off another long-ranged bomb that looked identical to his previous four.
The only difference was this one splashed through the net, and when it did, Durant unveiled a never-before-seen move. He posed to admire his 3-pointer, leaning back ever so slightly before capping his celebration with a shimmy of his shoulders.
“That was a ‘Finally' shimmy,” said Russell Westbrook.
“Finally, I made a shot,” Durant explained. “I had, like, three wide open 3s that rimmed in and out for me. And I just wanted to hit a big shot for my team. I guess that's the only thing that came to mind.”
Durant's big bucket came with 1:26 remaining Monday. It put the Thunder ahead by three, and fittingly, finally gave OKC the elusive breathing room needed to escape with a 115-113 win over Denver inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant scored 13 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter, and Westbrook chipped in 11 of his 30 points in the final period to help the Thunder overcome a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
After Kenneth Faried split a pair of free throws, Westbrook put the Thunder ahead by four, its largest lead of the night, when he blew by Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson and froze J.J. Hickson with a gorgeous in-and-out dribble that freed him for a layup with 22.3 seconds remaining.
From there, the Thunder closed out the Nuggets at the foul line, where OKC made five of six in the final 15 seconds.
But in many ways, the Thunder stole this one. It was a game the team had no business being in, but ultimately it became another in the early going this season that OKC found a way to pull out.
The Thunder trailed Monday for 45 minutes, 43 seconds.
A shoddy defensive effort was the reason.
Denver did just about anything it wanted to do on the Thunder's home floor, setting the tone early by pushing the pace, attacking the basket, abusing the Thunder's pick-and-roll defense and knocking down shots from the outside.
The Nuggets scored an opponent season-high 39 points in the opening period — one less than Milwaukee mustered by halftime two nights earlier — and shot 48.2 percent for the game.
Denver led by as many as 14 thanks in large part to the Thunder's inability to manufacture a string of stops at any point throughout the first 3 1/2 quarters.
But much like the Thunder has shown in most of its previous six wins, it simply wouldn't roll over Monday.
“We're very prideful, and we're going to keep fighting until the last possession,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “That's always been a trademark. But we can't turn it on in the second half. It's disappointing. We have to correct that.”
Denver made just 25 of 43 free throws, missing six in the fourth quarter to essentially gift the game to the Thunder.
In the end, it was enough, another victory that probably shouldn't have been.
“Our experience tells us that there's a lot of possessions, and we always have a chance to come back,” said Nick Collison. “That's good. It's good that we've been able to do that. I'd like to see us play with a little more consistency and with a little more urgency in the game.”