Phoenix (13-26) ended a string of 12 consecutive losses as a visitor -- its longest single-season skid in nearly three decades -- on Saturday with a decisive 97-81 victory over Chicago. Luis Scola had 22 points in the Suns' 2,000th all-time win and Michael Beasley had 20 on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench, his best scoring performance in a little more than a month.
"Obviously it was a much needed win for us. It is especially good to get it against a quality team," coach Alvin Gentry said. "For the first time in a very long time we played and executed well for four quarters."
Gentry's team has also had trouble executing on its own floor lately as it's dropped four of five after starting 9-5 there, capped by a season-high four straight wins.
Another absence from Dudley may hurt Phoenix's chances of getting back on track at home.
The swingman, third on the team with 12.1 points per game, had to sit out Saturday's win after bruising his right hand in a loss at Brooklyn on Friday. He was expected to get an X-ray to determine the severity of his injury.
Dudley had scored a combined 50 points in his three games before getting hurt but was held to seven on 2-of-7 shooting in a 114-96 loss at Oklahoma City on Dec. 31. Kevin Durant scored 30 points for the Thunder (29-8) and Russell Westbrook had 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds despite having to get eight stitches above his right eye.
Two other Thunder starters were dealing with injuries in the team's most recent game. Serge Ibaka (bruised chest) and Thabo Sefolosha (neck) missed Sunday's 87-83 win in Portland and their statuses are unknown for the visit to Phoenix.
Durant and the Thunder's defense helped make up for those absences and a difficult shooting night for Westbrook. The star forward scored 33 points in his team's eighth victory in 10 games and Oklahoma City held the Trail Blazers to 36.0 percent shooting.
Durant, who had a season-high 42 points in a 116-101 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, has scored more than 20 in 13 consecutive games.
"It was one of our best defensive games of the year, and it's kind of surprising because we did not have two of our best defensive players in the games," coach Scott Brooks said. "But that's what team's do. Teams have to step up and figure out ways to win, and our guys came off the bench and did a great job."
Westbrook had 18 points Sunday despite missing 16 of 21 shots and DeAndre Liggins, who replaced Sefolosha in the lineup, finished with 11 points and nine rebounds in his first NBA start. Nick Collison had eight points and three rebounds while starting in place of Ibaka, who had not missed a game while averaging career highs of 14.3 points and 8.4 boards.
Durant has a combined 89 points in his last three games against Phoenix and scored 29 in a 109-97 win at U.S. Airways Center on April 18. Dudley had a team-best 21 points for the Suns in that game.