The Phoenix Suns have shown some inconsistency after a torrid start, and their once-perfect home record is finally tarnished.
They could get another tough test Wednesday night from the improved Oklahoma City Thunder, who will try to climb back to .500 and salvage the finale of a three-game road trip as they continue to navigate a treacherous portion of their schedule.
After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004, Phoenix responded by scoring at least 100 points in each game of its 14-3 start.
The Suns (18-10) have stumbled to a 4-7 record in December, coinciding with the absence of speedy guard Leandro Barbosa. The Brazil native is expected to miss his 12th straight game, although he could return Friday in time to face the Los Angeles Clippers.
Phoenix's run-and-gun offense has failed to reach 100 points in five of the 11 games without Barbosa, though the Suns have also had to face some of the NBA's top teams. LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers snapped Phoenix's season-opening 10-game home winning streak with a 109-91 win Monday night.
"We didn't have a real winning mentality (Monday)," Suns point guard Steve Nash said. "I thought we were hesitant and a little doubtful rather than bold and aggressive and determined. I think that was the difference."
The point total was the Suns' lowest at home since last Christmas, when they lost 91-90 to San Antonio. They also struggled defensively, allowing the Cavs to shoot 52.6 percent from the field.
Amare Stoudemire will try to bounce back after scoring 14 points against Cleveland -- his lowest total of the season at home.
Phoenix will be getting its first look at the emerging Thunder (13-14), who totaled three wins before Christmas last year but have shown vast improvement behind budding star Kevin Durant.
Oklahoma City still appears a notch or two below the league's elite, however. The Thunder have dropped five of their last six, with the five defeats coming against opponents that are a combined 100-41.
After a narrow loss at Houston on Saturday, the Thunder took the reigning NBA champions down to the wire in Los Angeles on Tuesday night before the Lakers won 111-108.
Durant had 30 points before fouling out in the final minutes, while point guard Russell Westbrook added 21 and 13 assists. Rookie center Serge Ibaka continued to improve with a season-high 14 rebounds.
"I know we don't like to take moral victories, but (Tuesday) we showed a lot of toughness and a lot of maturity," Durant said. "Even though it was a tough loss, we were right there at the end and could have won it."
Still looking for its first win against Phoenix since moving from Seattle, the Thunder franchise has dropped nine straight overall to the Suns. The team's last win in Phoenix was a 152-149 double-overtime thriller Jan. 22, 2006.
Nick Collison is the lone current Oklahoma City player who was on the Seattle SuperSonics roster for that game.