OKC forward Kevin Durant led the Thunder in scoring with 44 points, nearing the NBA Christmas Day record of 60, scored by Bernard King in 1984. Durant, who had 19 at half, poured in 21 in the third quarter, but was limited to four in the fourth quarter.
The game went back and forth for three quarters, with the Nuggets holding a two point lead at half. Behind Durant's third quarter output the Thunder (21-10) gained and maintained the lead.
Carmelo Anthony didn't play in the game, as he continued to mourn the loss of his sister, who passed away earlier this season from a pre-existing medical condition.
Without their leading scorer, Chauncey Billups lead the Nuggets (16-12) in scoring, pouring in 30 points. Nene added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Denver saw contribution by Ty Lawson and Kenyon Martin's 19 and 10 respectively.
Russell Westbrook added 19 and James Harden 21 for Oklahoma City.
The Nuggets play again tomorrow night against the Philadelphia 76ers at 6:00 p.m. MT.