After three games, Dario Saric had enough.
He was barely halfway through his rookie season in the NBA and already he was tired of losing to the Celtics. The Sixers competed hard against the Celtics in their first three meetings but had fallen short.
Saric didn't feel like waiting until next season to get a win. He poured a team-high 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals into Sunday's 105-99 victory.
"Finally, we beat them," Saric said. "I'm so happy because I want to beat them so, so, so bad because we are like three games until now, we were so close, we give all the games a hundred percent and we lost and today finally we won. We deserved it and better team won today."
What happened to Okafor?
Jahlil Okafor did not play in the second half because of right knee soreness. He missed two games earlier this month with the same injury.
"He was sore," Brett Brown said. "We knew that going into the game. We judged it. No player likes to come to the head coach and say, 'I can't go tonight. I'm struggling.' He didn't say that.
"I reminded him, 'We're not playing in the Eastern Conference championship this year. It's OK. If you're hurting, we will take you and we'll sit you. It's OK. Because we have so many games now coming up and that was my call more than anybody's. We just decided to sit him."
Okafor scored four points with one rebound in 12 minutes. He is traveling with the Sixers to Orlando. His status for Monday's game against the Magic is to be determined as the team will further evaluate him once they arrive in Florida.
Brown sees both sides
One of the hottest topics in the NBA right now is the sitting of starters in nationally televised games. On Saturday, the Cavaliers came under criticism for not playing LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in their matchup against the Clippers.
Brown knows that scenario well. Back in December 2012, he was an assistant coach on the Spurs' team that was fined $250,000 by the league for benching four key players.
"It was my job in Miami to escort (Tim) Duncan, (Manu) Ginobili, (Tony) Parker, Danny Green and Kawhi (Leonard) back to San Antonio and not play in Miami," Brown recalled before Sunday's game. "We played in Orlando, charter plane had a problem. I went to a commercial airport with those five profile people and navigated through turnstyles and lines and all that to go back and not play because we felt they're injured, they're not healthy, and the league spoke. All over the place you understand kind of the whole situation. You get both sides of the argument."
Brown, who coaches a very sports science-minded program, sees the teams' point of view in wanting to maintain the health of their players. He also gets where the fans are coming from. Brown considers the fans when he is unhappy with the Sixers' performance, so he can appreciate how they would feel if they couldn't see their favorite players either.
"You see a dad that's brought his three children and middle-income wage," Brown said. "This is a blue-collar city, and [if] you don't come and bring it, you feel that you have a responsibility. I share this freely with my players in timeouts when it's not going on, and you guys know this. When you think of those fans that come and look forward to seeing players play, you understand that."