"We didn't have a good offensive game, we didn't have a good defensive game, we didn't have a good energy game. They seemed to be the hungry team from the very beginning," Karl said.
"Their studs got into the game at a high level very early and scored a lot of points. We never got into our flow."
Denver had won after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime in its previous four games, but dug too big of a hole to mount a comeback this time.
The Nuggets scored 11 straight points immediately after Oklahoma City pulled Martin, its top reserve, and put him on the bench alongside the starters. That still only cut the deficit to 101-84.
It was the fifth straight win for Oklahoma City in its only home game between sweeping a three-game West Coast road and heading back out for six more away from Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"We're greedy," Durant said. "In this league, you've got to be greedy. Just as quickly as you can win four or five in a row, you can lose four or five. You never can be complacent."
JaVale McGee had a couple of highlight-reel dunks among 15 points for Denver. Andre Iguodala scored 12 and Danilo Gallinari 11. The Nuggets had 21 turnovers, one shy of their worst total of the season.
The Northwest Division rivals will play again Sunday in Denver.
Reserve Wilson Chandler, who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the Nuggets' overtime win against Portland on Tuesday night, did not play.
Serge Ibaka returned to the Oklahoma City lineup after missing the past two games with a chest contusion and had five points, six rebounds and five blocks in 26 minutes.
NOTES: Asked before the game who should be the Nuggets' All-Star candidates, Karl said backup point guard Andre Miller has been the team's MVP so far. ... Oklahoma City corralled an offensive rebound on nine of its first 16 missed shots. ... The Thunder scored 67 points in the first half. Their season-high for first-half scoring was 68 against Houston on Dec. 29. ... Oklahoma City reserve Nick Collison sprained his right ankle in the first half and did not return.