DENVER The Boston Celtics finally got the highest scoring team, the Denver Nuggets, to play their brand of slow down, drag-it-out basketball.
But the game's tempo swinging their way was too little too late as the Nuggets hung on for a 98-91 win.
A pair of free throws by Kevin Garnett made it a 94-91 game with about a minute to play.
After a Celtics stop defensively, Ray Allen's potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark.
That would be Boston's last gasp at what had been an impressive fourth quarter rally.
The rebound wound up in the familiar hands of Kenneth Faried, who snatched a game-high 16 rebounds to go along with 18 points.
The Celtics (23-21) have now lost their second straight and are now 2-3 during their current West coast road trip that moves back to the East for the next three games (Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philadelphia).
Denver shot a higher percentage and more than doubled the Celtics (28-12) on the boards in the first half.
It was the kind of basketball cocktail that would have the most talented team looking a bit punch-drunk on the floor, as the Celtics fell behind by 13 points at the half.
Denver's control of the game remained as strong as ever in the third, but the C's positioned themselves to get the Nuggets lead down to single digits on several occasions.
But Boston simply could not get over that double-digit hump, and trailed 80-68 going into the fourth.
Boston managed to get it down to an even 10 points, and had a chance to make it a single-digit game but Kevin Garnett threw an errant pass resulting in a turnover.
The C's eventually got the deficit down to single digits, but consistently failed to get the much-needed stop defensively or the clutch basket that we're so used to to them getting in close, down-to-the-wire affairs.