Howard doing his part with Heat from the sideline

By Tim Reynolds

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"I wanted to address a message to my teammates that we need to stick together and we need to believe that we can do it," Ibaka said. "We addressed Kevin (Durant), guys who can make some crazy plays and make us all achieve better. My message was to make them to believe that we can do it because we've been working hard to be here."

SPO'S FAMILY: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has some family in town for the NBA Finals. For obvious reasons, he hasn't had time to see them much in recent days.

He's sorry about that. But they understand that his job is a little demanding right now, especially with the Heat entering Thursday up 3-1 in the best-of-seven championship series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"They're having a good time here in South Florida," Spoelstra said. "I think all of us now have been on this journey for about almost 24 months, and dealing with this world that we live in right now, I think we're all kind of used to it."

JUST IN CASE: There were added police officers near AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami to ensure that fans or revelers not get too out of hand before, during or after Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Miami Police Sgt. Freddy Cruz said Biscayne Boulevard — the main thoroughfare running in front of the arena that the Heat call home — would be closed as usual after the game to alleviate traffic.

Cruz said officers are prepared for a few impromptu street parties if Miami wins the championship — banging pots and pans is a bit of a tradition in some areas of the city. But police expect fans to cooperate once officers reopen the street to traffic.

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed.

Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere