Eric Gordon scored 26 points and Holiday added seven rebounds as the Pelicans (7-8) snapped a four-game road skid.
Holiday, an All-Star last season for the Sixers, was sent to New Orleans in a summer trade that netted Philadelphia No. 6 overall pick Nerlens Noel and a future first-rounder.
Tony Wroten scored 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting off the bench, and Spencer Hawes contributed 12 points and nine boards for Philadelphia. Wroten (lower back) and Hawes (knee) both played for the first time in three games, but the 76ers lost for the ninth time in their last 11.
Missed opportunities plagued the Sixers. On one possession in the third quarter, James Anderson missed three straight open 3-pointers after Thaddeus Young grabbed consecutive offensive rebounds. After the third miss, Young pulled down another offensive board and drew a foul going back up, but he missed both free throws.
The Sixers were a miserable 9 for 21 (43 percent) at the free throw line. Conversely, the Pelicans were 11 for 14 (79 percent) on free throws.
New Orleans took a 12-point lead late in the second quarter on Anthony Davis' fast-break layup after a steal by Holiday to cap off a 15-2 run.
The Sixers responded with a pair of 3-pointers and an 8-2 run of their own to end the half down 61-55.
Gordon and Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans at the break with 11 points apiece. Evan Turner also had 11, including three of the Sixers' nine first-half 3-pointers. They went cold in the second half, making just three from behind the arc.
New Orleans shot 55 percent from the field, including 8 for 20 (40 percent) on 3-pointers.
NOTES: The Sixers allowed their opponent triple-digit points for the 15th time in 17 games. ... Hawes' double-double streak ended at three games. ... Friday's game marked the final of two meetings between the clubs this season. ... Sunday, the Sixers face the Pistons in Detroit and the Pelicans play the Knicks in New York.