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76ers Coach Returns to Practice

December 20, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Larry Brown returned to the Philadelphia 76ers after missing two days of practice, ready to coach Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz.

Brown attended a shootaround Wednesday morning. He had skipped practices on consecutive days following a dispute with his team last weekend.

The 76ers have the best record in the NBA at 18-6 after a franchise-best 10-0 start. However, Brown assailed his players in a 30-minute meeting after an 18-point loss to Dallas at the First Union Center last Friday.

The next morning, during a team meeting in Chicago before a game against the Bulls on Saturday night, Allen Iverson reportedly angered his coach by telling him he’s treating the players as if they were losing.

The 76ers beat Chicago 99-91 behind 33 points from Iverson, but Brown appeared withdrawn on the bench. Brown and Iverson have had a contentious relationship since the coach arrived in Philadelphia four years ago. Both men are sensitive to criticism from the other.

When the team returned to Philadelphia, Brown took off two days.

General manager Billy King and president Pat Croce said Brown merely needed a break from the team.

``We met, both he, myself and Pat. We talked. Everything’s fine,″ King said Tuesday. ``The unfortunate thing is, (Brown) is in a public position. If most other people were to miss work, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But because he’s the coach, he’s not expected to take days off. That’s just the way it is.″

Brown signed a $25-million, five-year contract extension last March, and Croce said Brown intends to keep coaching.

``He is not resigning,″ Croce said.

The 60-year-old Brown has worked straight through last season’s playoffs, the Olympics (where he was an assistant coach), training camp, preseason and the first 24 games of this season.

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