For good measure, Scola finished with a team-high 21 as the Suns ended their six-game losing streak with a 95-89 win. He gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the game, 77-66, at the start of the fourth quarter when he swished a 19-footer.
Once again, the Sixers (15-18) demonstrated that they can't stand success. With the chance to go to 3-3 on this trip heading into the daunting back-to-back with the Spurs and Thunder, they instead virtually assured themselves of returning with six losses on this swing rather than five.
After a first half that featured seven lead changes and nine ties, the Suns took the lead for good with Scola lighting up the Sixers and never relinquished it, leading for 23 minutes, 5 seconds in the second half.
The Sixers arrived in Phoenix having lost eight of 11 games, so they don't fall under the category of juggernaut. But this is a season of ebbs and flows, and when you beat the Lakers on their home court on New Year's Day after they have won six of seven, beating the Suns the next time out is a must. Otherwise, you'll never turn the corner and remove yourself from the mediocrity you've been mired in for most of the season.
Sixers forward Thaddeus Young said that following up the win against the Lakers with the clunker in Phoenix was both hurtful and disappointing.
"It's crucial, very crucial," said Young, who scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds earlier this season when the Sixers fell to the visiting Thunder, 116-109, in overtime. "At the end of the day, this is a game where we thought we could definitely get out of here with a win and go into Oklahoma City and San Antonio and try to sneak two more. It's always good to have momentum when you are going into a good team's house and try to beat them. But we don't have that momentum now."
And gaining some over the next 48 hours will be difficult. The Sixers have lost seven consecutive games to Oklahoma City, and this will be Kevin Durant's first game after being ejected Wednesday for the first time in his career. And when they play at San Antonio on Saturday, they will be trying to end an eight-game road losing streak against the Spurs.
Inside the Sixers:
76ers at Thunder
Friday at 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: CSN; WPEN-FM (97.5)
Contact John N. Mitchell at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.