O'Brien seeks to resolve issues sooner than later

Updated: March 8, 2005, 1:06 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Chris Webber and Philadelphia 76ers coach Jim O'Brien met Monday to clear the air about Webber's lack of playing time two days earlier against Atlanta.

Chris Webber
Power Forward
Philadelphia 76ers
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Webber, recently acquired from Sacramento, played 28 minutes in Philadelphia's 98-97 win over Atlanta. He came out with 3:38 left in the third quarter, returned with 3:43 left in the fourth and scored four late points to help the 76ers pull out the win.

"Chris has a lot of confidence in himself. He knows what he can bring to the table," O'Brien said. "I have a number of reasons why I do what I do from the standpoint of playing guys a certain amount of minutes. ... I didn't know it was going to be an issue. It bothered him. So I dealt with it."

Webber is averaging 31.8 minutes in his first six games with Philadelphia after averaging 36.3 minutes in 46 games for the Kings earlier this season.

Webber said the shock of the trade had worn off, and insisted that he was only aiming at helping the 76ers find their way to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Philadelphia lost 108-100 to Miami on Monday night, falling a half-game behind Indiana for the eighth and final postseason spot.

Webber scored 10 points in 26 minutes on Monday night. He's averaging 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his first six games with Philadelphia; he averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds with the Kings.

"Nobody is more disappointed than I am," Webber said after Monday night's game. "How can you go from averaging what I did to not being able to do it is beyond me. But I'll deal with that stuff later. Right now I'm trying to keep team goals in mind."

If Webber has problems, O'Brien said, he'd rather have them voiced than fester.

"Every relationship that I've ever been involved with that has been a good relationship is always based on communication," O'Brien said. "Good communication never fails. It takes a while for a player and a coach to develop a relationship."

For his part, Webber said he believes he and his new teammates are starting to come together.

"There's a little more of a comfort zone," Webber said. "Playing in a new environment, you know, is always different for everybody. If we do what's expected, make a push and get into the playoffs, then we'll be fine. That's my goal."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press