How bad was it?
Consider Orlando got major contributions from three guys playing just their second season and two rookies, both of whom started. The Magic is an organization in rebuilding mode, where playing time and experience is more important than wins and losses right now. Still, it was able to own the Sixers, though a lot of it had to do with the lack of resistance presented by the home team.
"I did not see this effort coming," Collins said. "This is mind-numbing to me. We went up 29-20, and from that point on I couldn't even tell you what occurred."
A common theme all season for the Sixers has been their lackluster performances at the beginning of quarters. That trait surfaced again Tuesday as the Magic scored 14 of the first 16 points of the second half, jumping to an insurmountable 17-point lead. It got so bad during that spurt that Collins subbed four reserves all at once, leaving Thaddeus Young as the lone starter on the floor.
Afterward, at a long news conference, Collins said that finding solutions is what he is paid to do, but that right now he just can't locate any. It doesn't help that his team is playing with all the urgency of a death-row inmate walking to his demise.
"I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I really do," Collins said when asked if his team understands the urgency in which it should be playing if it is serious about making the playoffs. "I gave my body to this franchise [as a player]. I was never booed as a player. Never. I ran through my sneakers."
On Tuesday, his team played as if it wasn't wearing sneakers; instead, like it was playing in socks on a slippery floor. The Sixers were slow to the ball, got crushed on the boards (45-37, including 19 by Nik Vucevic), barely seemed to think about playing defense, and seemed as if a playoff push was the farthest thing from their minds. Collins said he will, as always, rack his brain in order to find solutions, but hinted that his players must do the same.
"If everybody looked at themselves as much as I did, this world would be a CAT scan," Collins said. "There's not 2 days go by that I don't go to Rod [Thorn], that I don't go to Tony [DiLeo] and say, 'What can I do? Can I do anything different? How can I be a better coach? How can I be a better leader? How can I help these guys?' Sometimes you've got to help yourself. Youth is a very blaming thing."
There certainly was plenty of blame to go around for this one. It could start with allowing the Magic to shoot 53.9 percent from the floor. Or the fact that Vucevic grabbed 14 more rebounds than Spencer Hawes (one) and Lavoy Allen (four) combined.
But numbers aren't the only tale. The biggest problem for the Sixers on Tuesday was their laissez-faire attitude to the dismal display that they put on for 48 minutes.
"I guess it's where you tag it upon," Evan Turner said when asked where the blame may lie. "It reoccurs a lot. Any situation seems the worst. Sometimes you just have to keep your head up and be one of the only few to stay positive. It's obvious. Anybody could sit here and point out the obvious. I'm not going to sit here and drop my head. I'm sure the leaders of this team and the All-Star are not going to drop their heads. It's basketball and you're always going to keep searching. It's not where you want it but you have to keep working and keep going."
A look around the dissipating crowd in the fourth quarter, when the Magic's lead grew to as much as 21, showed fans sitting in disbelief, not rage. The look said, "What happened to the season that was supposed to be?"
Of course Andrew Bynum is nowhere to be found, at least not on the court. Jason Richardson is out after season-ending knee surgery, and pieces that were supposed to have been peripheral have had to try to become center pieces.
None of it has worked out very well, certainly not the way the fans, or Collins, envisioned.
"The team that we've tried to put together, we've never seen," Collins said. "What happens is when you take a huge piece away from it, your warts show."
Never have they shown worse this season than they did Tuesday night.
Doug Collins waved to Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn as the game clock wound down and made his way to the locker room. Problem was there were still a few seconds left in the game. Asked afterward about it, Collins said: "I thought the shot clock was going to wind down. I didn't realize there was a differential. I've done that before" . . . Jeremy Pargo and Damien Wilkins each scored 14 to lead the Sixers, while Jrue Holiday had nine points and 10 assists . . . Six Magic players hit double figures, led by Tobias Harris' and Arron Afflalo, who had 16 each . . . The Sixers travel to Chicago to play the Bulls on Thursday before returning home against Golden State on Saturday.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76