It was a huge day in the NBA on Thursday with 12 games across the league.
Here are all the big stories.
VOICE CONTESTANT BLUNDERS THROUGH ANTHEM
Country singer Audra McLaughlin was left devastated when she forgot the words to the American national anthem just moments before the 76ers game against New York tipped off in Philadelphia.
The former finalist on season six of TV show The Voice, has since issued a series of apologies on social media — after her unfortunate choke began to spread across the internet.
McLaughlin sang her heart out in a spirited performance right up until she skipped several lines towards the end of her Star Spangled Banner rendition.
After clearly foregeting the words in the middle of a line, McLaughlin simply skipped to the final line of the song and got stuck into: “For the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
There was an awkward, silent pause around the Wells Fargo Arena immediately after she’d finished before the team’s court announcer stepped in to continue the pre-match proceedings.
It’s just unfortunate that the Sixers on Thursday just happened to be honouring troops from the 314th recruiting squadron colour guard.
She made a fast exit as soon as the anthem was concluded.
McLaughlin responded to criticism online by asking for forgiveness after an innocent mistake.
BEN SIMMONS BALLS OUT IN PLAYGROUND EXHIBITION
Ben Simmons recorded his fourth triple double of the season as the Sixers stormed to a big win over New York in Philadelphia.
Simmons delivered one of his best match-day highlight reels of this season before finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Star centre Joel Embiid also had a big game to finish with 24 points and 10 rebounds as Philly raced to a comfortable 131-109 victory that improves their record to 20-12.
More impressive than Simmons’ statline, was the series of bonkers highlights that got his team fired up.
After showing incredible defensive intensity and proving to be unguardable one-on-one in the first half, Simmons stepped it up late in the game when he bulldozed Knicks forward Noah Vonleh and then gave him a staredown after throwing it down.
Simmons said after the game he wasn’t even satisfied with his performance.
AUSSIE AARON BAYNES SUFFERS UGLY INJURY
It was a new low for the struggling Celtics when they lost Aussie centre Aron Baynes to a serious hand injury and crumbled to battler Phoenix on Thursday.
Baynes will be out indefinitely after breaking a bone in his left hand against the Suns.
Baynes blocked a pass, shook his hand in visible pain and walked off the court straight to the locker room during a time-out early in the opening quarter. He was followed by member of the team’s medical staff.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the 111-103 loss that Baynes had already undergone scans which showed a clear break.
“I saw the X-rays, so I can confirm it,” Stevens said.
“Even I could see the break.”
It has put the Celtics in a bad way with centre Al Horford already missing the past five games with patellar tendinitis in his left knee.
— with AP