The Kings were unable to sustain the effort on both sides of the ball, falling to the Nuggets 118-108 at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento cut Denver’s lead to 14 points twice in the fourth quarter -- the second time at 107-93 with 4:55 to go on a Rudy Gay six-foot bank shot.
But the Kings were unable to get any closer.
The Nuggets (17-20) outscored the Kings (15-21) 36-15 in the third quarter, turning a six-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Ty Lawson provided the offense in the third stanza, going for 14 points while rookie Jusuf Nurkic added eight points in a pivotal period.
Lawson and Arron Afflalo led a balanced attack with 22 points apiece. JJ Hickson and Nurkic added 16 each, while Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the win.
The Kings were paced by DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 32 points and corralled 13 rebounds, representing his 20th double-double of the season and 16th in his last 18 games.
Gay added 22 and Darren Collison contributed 15, while Nik Stauskas supported them with 13 points.
Hot shooting characterized the first half, as Sacramento shot 58 percent and Denver shot 54.5 percent.
The Nuggets' high-octane offense was a precursor to their 9-0 run to start the third quarter.
Despite entering the game leading the NBA in free throw attempts at 30.8 per night, the Kings did not attempt a single free throw in the third quarter. Overall, they shot 18-for-24 from the charity stripe.
Sacramento’s porous defense returned, allowing Denver to score 118 points. The Kings are now 8-17 when allowing opponents to get into triple digits.
After taking the first two meetings over the Nuggets in the first week of the season, the Kings were unable to seize the third game of a four-game season series.
Denver extended its winning streak to four games, while Sacramento again failed to win two-straight games.
Sacramento has not won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak in November.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Ty Lawson went for 14 points in the third quarter to propel Denver to victory.
TURNING POINT: Denver outscored Sacramento 36 to 15 in the third quarter, turning the tables on the Kings six-point halftime lead and ascending to a 90-75 lead.
INJURY REPORT: Kings - F Omri Casspi (left knee bone contusion), G Ramon Sessions (low back strain) and F Eric Moreland (surgery left shoulder labral tear) were out.
Nuggets - F Darrell Arthur (left peroneal longus strain) was listed as probable and played, while F Danilo Gallinari (right knee meniscal tear), C JaVale McGee (left lower leg strain) and G Randy Foye (right vastus lateralis strain) were all out.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Kings host Cleveland on Sunday in game three of a six-game homestand.