Trailing by only one at the half, the Sixers helplessly - and sometimes halfheartedly-watched as the Nets threw a 35-14 quarter at them and rode it to a 109-89 blowout win. During that deciding third, the Nets started with an 18-2 run, made nine of their first 10 shots, held the Sixers to 6-for-19 from the floor and outrebounded them, 14-3.
To add insult to injury, former Sixer Reggie Evans hauled down a career-high 23 rebounds, all done in a little more than 26 minutes. In fact, after three quarters, Evans had more rebounds (23) than the Sixers (22).
Holiday, who finished with 19 points, eight assists and four turnovers, pinned the loss on himself.
"I just think that in the start of the second half, I didn't come out with the energy like we did in the first," he said. "They made some plays. D-Will [Deron Williams] made some plays that I know, if I was more alert and maybe had more of an effort, maybe that could have stopped some of that. I think in the beginning of the second half, I didn't come out with that effort."
It is becoming a problem of astronomical proportions as the Sixers have been outscored by 226-169 in the second half of the past four games combined. After the third-quarter explosion, most of the fourth became 12 minutes of garbage basketball. Still, the Nets made 58.5 percent of their shots in the final 24 minutes and had 20 second-chance points to six for the Sixers. The Sixers have scored fewer than 90 points in six of their past seven games.
That stat alone points to energy, and the Sixers appeared to have little of it in the second half. And when a basket is needed, there's no easy way for them to find one. They again got crushed on the foul line, as the Nets made 19 of their 22 attempts, while the Sixers went only 6-for-10.
"The first half, we hang around, it's a one-point game, and then we come out and look like we had no energy at all," Collins said. "They scored nine straight points and from that point in time, they started hitting every shot, we couldn't get any stops and they just kept steamrolling and steamrolling us.
"As I said [Monday], I thought we were an incredibly tired team, and tonight we played that way."
Monday, following a day off after being on the road for 12 consecutive days, Collins realized his players had nothing to give, and, instead of going through the practice he had planned, eased up on the players to allow them to find their juice. Obviously, they never did, and having to play Wednesday night in Toronto probably won't help that happen anytime soon.
Brooklyn has now won six of seven since P.J. Carlesimo was named interim coach after the firing of Avery Johnson. The Nets are one of the hottest teams in the league, not a good coming-home present for the Sixers, who had just suffered blowout losses to Western Conference elites Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Williams led the Nets (20-15) with 22 points, while Andray Blatche added 20 off the bench. Joe Johnson scored 15, Brook Lopez 13 and Gerald Wallace added 11. More frustrating than any of those stats, though, was the work Evans did on the board. Time after time, he snatched rebounds away from waiting Sixers, further adding to the mounting frustration.
"That's his job, that's what he gets paid to do," Holiday said. "If we put two or three guys on him, then somebody else gets the rebound."
That someone else rarely was wearing a Sixers uniform.
"I have no idea," Collins said when asked why his team is getting so outplayed in the second half. When asked further about the foul-shot discrepancy, something that has become the norm for his team, all Collins could say is: "I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen anything like it."
He probably hopes he doesn't see anything like what he saw on the whole Tuesday, either.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76