PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ 76ers coach Larry Brown has missed two days of practice but was expected to return for Wednesday night's home game against Utah.

Brown, whose team has the best record in the NBA, merely needed a break, general manager Billy King and president Pat Croce said.

``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, who last year signed a five-year $5 million-a-year contract extension, was in his office Tuesday.

Brown lectured the team about playing better and harder after losing 112-94 to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. The 76ers, who are 18-6 with the best record in the league, went on to beat Chicago the following night, but players complained that Brown was too hard on them at a time when they were already weakened by injuries.

``He may have been going hard, really hard,'' Croce said. ``Hard on the team. Hard on himself. And this is just a time for him to just chill. Chill a little. ... He is not resigning.''

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.

Philadelphia, leading the Atlantic Division with an 18-6 record, begins a tough five-game stretch Wednesday with a nationally televised game with the Jazz.