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.”