Collins was referring to the team's 93-76 loss to the Spurs. Playing their first game of the season without starting small forward Andre Iguodala, idled by a sore left knee, the Sixers (27-22) scored only 27 points in the second half - just 11 in the fourth quarter - against a tired Spurs team. And San Antonio even opted to rest Tim Duncan.
After suffering their fifth loss in their last seven games and the 13th in their last 20, the Sixers, who once held a five–game lead over the Celtics (26-22) in the Atlantic Division, are not only in a battle to win the division but in a fight to remain among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference and qualify for the playoffs.
The Spurs beat the Sixers to loose balls with regularity. They turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 27 San Antonio points, and the Spurs scored easily inside, finishing with 54 points in the paint.
"So now the question is how do we get that connection back?" Collins said. "It happens when you throw yourself into the pile, and you're not concerned about yourself."
According to Collins, Sam Young, acquired from Memphis at the trade deadline, was the only player who did that on Sunday. He saw more time due to the injury to Iguodala, who said Monday that he might play Tuesday when the Sixers face the Cavaliers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Young logged 30 minutes against the Spurs in the most extensive playing time he has seen with the Sixers. He was active and attacked the basket on the way to finishing with eight points, nine rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
Collins gave the impression Young could see an expanded role with the Sixers.
"He gives us toughness, and that's something that we need," Collins said.
Grim as the Sixers' situation has become, Iguodala said he is confident the Sixers can win the division and that they "will be all right if we play like I know we are capable of playing."
Iguodala said that his knee has been bothering him off and on for the last month or so. He said he thought he would be able to go Sunday, but the pain in his knee at the team's morning shootaround made that unrealistic.
"We're going to have to keep an eye on it down the stretch," he said. "There are days when it hurts, and there are days when it doesn't."
Contact John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer