Brett Brown says he usually sleeps well at night, knowing he and his team did everything in their power to win.
So some might wonder how the 76ers coach slept Wednesday night.
That's because doing everything in their power to win would have involved playing Joel Embiid in the second overtime of a 104-99 double-overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center.
Brown said after the game that the outcome would have been different had Embiid played in the second overtime. But the coach said there were no exceptions to the rule.
The team restricts Embiid's playing time because he is recovering from foot injuries and surgeries that cost him and the team two seasons.
"There it is, on your bench 10 feet from me," Brown said of being tempted to play Embiid. "It's very tempting. But you just can't do it.
"It's a bigger world than we are living in. It's a far greater vision, a much longer vision that we see. Really, games like tonight, as much as it stings and as much as he was close by and plays at the level that we saw, it's just not wise to do it."
Embiid was unable to play in the second overtime period because he already played 3 minutes, 10 seconds more than his 24-minute limit. He tried to persuade the medical staff to allow him to play more.
"It's tough," said Embiid, who is scheduled to sit out Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls. "So I basically have three or four days to rest. So that's what I told them.
"But they care about me. They are going to do whatever they can to protect me."
The Grizzlies (10-5) capitalized. Memphis reserve power forward Zach Randolph scored the first two buckets of the second overtime against Jahlil Okafor, who replaced Embiid. Then Grizzles center Marc Gasol added two baskets. Memphis had a 99-96 lead with 1:57 left in the second session with those two leading the way.
The Sixers' Jerryd Bayless made a layup to cut the lead to 99-98, but Memphis' Mike Conley sealed the win with five foul shots in the final 20.9 seconds.
Before watching the decisive five-minute extra session unfold, Embiid showed his frustration at the conclusion of the first overtime.
The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder kicked a chair on the team bench after the team doctors denied his request to play on.
"I respect that," Brown said of Embiid's visible display of frustration. "Very much I respect that. You see how much he wants to help us try to win, how competitive he is. I mean, that's a hard life to live, isn't it? [It is] from everybody's perspective - coaches, teammates, Joel's, fans - but it's just the way it is."
The loss denied the Sixers (4-11) two things. They failed to win three consecutive games for the first time since they won four straight in late 2013 and early 2014. The Sixers also haven't beaten the Grizzlies since Dec. 26, 2012, with Memphis winning eight consecutive meetings.
The Sixers, who were also doomed by 27 turnovers, were led in scoring by Ersan Ilyasova and Robert Covington.
Ilyasova finished with a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Covington added 19 points while making 4 of 7 three-pointers. He also had 10 rebounds, two assists, three steals, and three blocked shots in his first double-double of the season. The small forward snapped out of his three-point shooting slump after shooting 3 for 27 in his previous five games. Bayless finished with 18 points and six assists in a reserve role.
Embiid finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots for his fourth double-double.
The Grizzlies were paced by Gasol's game-high 27 points, and Conley added 25 points, nine assists, and nine rebounds.
Now, the Sixers turn their attention to the Bulls (9-6). Chicago is led by all-stars Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade.
Butler is averaging 25.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 steals. Wade, who signed a free-agent deal with his hometown Bulls this summer, averages 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.50 steals.
Former Sixer Michael Carter-Williams, sidelined with knee and wrist injuries, and Isaiah Canaan are with the Bulls