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Anderson says Dad has best seat in house

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After Game 2 of last year's NBA Finals in Chicago, 1997 Jazz rookie Shandon Anderson received the fateful phone call that his father was dying of cancer. Anderson hurried home and eventually missed two Finals games, staying through Willie Anderson Sr.'s death and funeral.

Anderson remembers the draining flights, trying to help the team but still be there for his father and family, fighting jet lag and fatigue and emotion. "But this year, I'm with the team, and I'll be here throughout the whole playoffs," Anderson says.And this year, he's at peace with his father's death. "I think about my dad every day," Anderson says, finding that a comfort.

"He has the greatest seat in the world," says Anderson, alternately smiling and welling with emotion. "He's looking down, just like a blimp, he's looking down on the world. And what greater situation (than to) get back to the Finals - you know, for him."

TRADE TALK: With worldwide media attending, Greg Foster and Chris Morris were asked often about the failed trade that sent them to Orlando for Rony Seikaly. They were in a Magic shootaround when they got word they were doing the yo-yo thing.

The two flew back to Salt Lake City together in near silence, said Morris, eating dinner and watching a movie, then coming out of the jetway to find maybe 100 fans waiting to welcome them back.

Morris, who has since played himself into Jerry Sloan's regular rotation and figures to see duty against Michael Jordan in this series, was not happy about the airport gathering. "All of a sudden, you've got the fans trying to have like a little parade-party that you're back.

"That didn't go well with me because I didn't want nobody feeling sorry for me," he said.

At the first game back, Morris was again angered when the theme from the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter" was played over the P.A. system. "That was a really upsetting thing," he said.

A talk with Jazz president Frank Layden helped Morris, and he says he realized it would be best for him to simply try and have fun playing when he got the chance.

RUSSELL SPEAKS: Bryon Russell on having 10 days off between games: "It's like lying out at the beach," said the Long Beach State product.

Of the Jazz's practices during the lull, he said, "We sure fight like hell in practice, so I'm sure we'll fight in the games, too. I mean, not physically fight, but battling. That's the kind of situations you need if you're going to get intense (in games)."

There is talk of Russell defending Scottie Pippen this season. Last Finals, he spent a lot of time against Michael Jordan. "I'll guard anybody. Luc Longley, you name it. I'll guard him," said Russell.

If it is Pippen, "I'll just try to go out there and aggravate him a little," said Russell, who thinks the Jazz are feeling "much calmer" in their second Finals.

PAST IS PAST: It was in the '97 Finals that backup point guard Howard Eisley first showed the world he could make big contributions to the Jazz against the world champions. His strong showing against the Bulls may be what got him a free-agent offer from the Clippers and what made the Jazz work to keep him.

He finds last year's success no help now, however. "What happened last year is behind me," he said. "I don't concentrate on that."

DR. JACK'S DIAGNOSIS: ESPN analyst Jack Ramsay expects the Jazz to prevail in six or seven games.

"I think it's going to be a great series," he said. "I think the key is how each team defends the other's main man. How do the Bulls defend Karl Malone? How do the Jazz defend Michael Jordan? I think if either team has an answer there, that could be enough."