St. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Scott Williams won't have to worry about retaliation for his hard hit on league MVP Allen Iverson because the Bucks forward was suspended for Game 7.
The NBA handed down the punishment while the Bucks' charter plane was en route to Philadelphia early Saturday evening and neither Williams nor coach George Karl was immediately available for comment.
Before the team left Milwaukee, Williams took part in practice and said he hadn't intended to elbow Iverson in the chin in the opening minutes of Game 6 Friday night in Milwaukee.
But NBA Senior VP Stu Jackson reclassified the foul as a "flagrant foul penalty 2," meaning Williams is automatically suspended for one game for accumulating too many penalty points in the playoffs. Williams already had committed flagrant fouls against Orlando on April 22, and against Charlotte on May 17.
Without Williams' services, the Bucks will turn to another former Sixers player, forward Tim Thomas, to step up in the franchise's biggest game in 27 years.
The deciding game is Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Williams said he meant to hit Iverson hard but not high.
"I wasn't trying to commit a flagrant foul or hurt him in any way," Williams said, before learning of the suspension. "I have a knack for trying to get in the lane and draw charges when people come flying down the lane. And he's a little quicker than I thought he was and he's a little a little smaller than I thought he was."
Williams said he saw he was beaten on the play, so he just tried to get a hand on Iverson's hip.
"He's so low to the ground. I never got my elbow higher than about my rib cage and it just happened to catch him right at the chin," Williams said.
Intentional or not, the foul fired up the Bucks and the Bradley Center crowd.
"He added a big spark for us," Glenn Robinson said.
Williams never averaged more than 6.4 points during his 4´ seasons in Philadelphia, where he was reviled almost to the same degree that Matt Geiger is nowadays.
Nobody's ever accused Williams, an 11-year veteran who won three championships in Chicago, of being a goon. But Iverson said Williams' flagrant foul was a deliberate cheap shot.
Iverson didn't retaliate Friday night. But on Saturday he took a verbal jab at Williams.
"I understand the magnitude of the game. I can't get thrown out. I see a lot of their big guys take hits at me," Iverson said. "In situations like that, some of our big guys have to handle the situation. It's Scott Williams. I'll feel real bad if I let Scott Williams hurt me."
After knocking Iverson around, Williams proceeded to play his best game of the series, scoring 12 points, including 10 of Milwaukee's first 14 points after averaging just three points in the series.
"He added paint presence and he made shots for us, added another scorer to help us out," Robinson said. "Sam Cassell, he was down a little bit and the points that Scott provided made up for it."
Williams said that while he never meant to hurt Iverson, he certainly intended to set the tone at both ends of the court.
"I think as an older, veteran player with experience in these types of situations, that's my responsibility," Williams said. "That's my job. ... We'd been talking about not getting pushed around."
Williams said the reason his elbow had something extra to it was that he wanted to make sure to deny the basket.
"I like to do things that fire up our team," Williams said. "But I'm not trying to take credit for knocking a guy on his keister and getting my team fired up. That's not my style of basketball.
"I've always said I'm a strong, aggressive player. But I'm not a dirty player."