Oklahoma City got a stiff challenge from feisty Phoenix before Russell Westbrook put the sliding Suns away.
Westbrook had 36 points and 12 assists, and the Thunder beat Phoenix 110-106 on Thursday night for the Suns’ seventh straight loss.
Kevin Durant scored 23 points for Oklahoma City, which has won three straight and 12 of 14. Westbrook also had five steals and blocked a shot.
"It was a good night for him," Durant said of Westbrook. "He was just efficient. He had the ball in his hands and made good decisions. He took control of the game and made shots. That’s what he does, he’s a scorer. He’s a guy that sets everybody up. He was big tonight."
Durant, teammate Steven Adams and Phoenix centre Tyson Chandler each got a technical foul in the first half. After the final horn sounded, Suns forward P.J. Tucker had to be separated from Durant and Oklahoma City guard Dion Waiters at centre court.
"There was a lot of physicality in the game," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "Guys were getting tied up and tangled up. They competed hard."
The Suns had six players score in double figures. T.J. Warren had 29 points and nine rebounds, and Tucker scored 22 points.
Chandler, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds, made a tying layup with 1:34 left. But Durant scored on a fadeaway jumper and got free for a dunk that made it 106-102 with 31.7 seconds to go.
Brandon Knight had a layup and a dunk for the Suns in the final seconds, but Westbrook responded with two free throws each time. He went 11 for 11 at the line for the night.
"Every day he has an incredible ability whether it’s in practice or in games to come with a great energy and passion," Donovan said. "He did some great things for us offensively."
Oklahoma City shot 52.5 per cent (42 for 80) from the field. Phoenix was right behind the Thunder at 52.4 per cent (43 for 82).
Knight finished with 15 points on 6-for-20 shooting, and Mirza Teletovic also scored 15 for the Suns. Devin Booker had 12 points.
Phoenix played without forward Jon Leuer due to an ankle injury. Leading scorer Eric Bledsoe will not return this season after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Westbrook was nearly perfect in the first half. He had 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He also had eight assists and was a perfect 4 of 4 from the free-throw line.
Oklahoma City had a 54-53 lead at the break. Phoenix was 6 for 12 from 3-point range in the first half, and Warren had 17 points in the first two quarters.
Suns: It was Phoenix’s 10th straight loss in Oklahoma City. … The teams also met last New Year’s Eve, and the Suns lost 137-134 in overtime. … The Suns used eight players, and Alex Len and Bryce Cotton did not score.
Thunder: Oklahoma City went 12-3 in December. … Serge Ibaka had nine points and five rebounds.
Suns: Visit Kings on Saturday.
Thunder: Visit Hornets on Saturday.
Kyle Singler had seven points and four rebounds while playing almost 13 minutes for Oklahoma City, all in the second half. He did not play in the Thunder’s previous three games.
"I was really happy for Kyle," Donovan said. "He works really hard. He’s in the gym every single day. He keeps himself ready."