OAKLAND -- The meanest man to put on a Warriors uniform in years was smiling and speaking in direct terms Saturday.

It's not complicated: You want to get past the Warriors, you have to go through Andrew Bogut.

That is not easy or painless, as the Denver Nuggets are discovering in this first-round series.

"It's working for us," the Warriors' 7-foot center said cheerily before Saturday's practice.

"I'm not going out there to hurt anybody or be cheap or anything. I'm just playing physical like they are.

"If someone steps up and wants to get into it, I've got no problem with that."

In the Warriors' scintillating Game 3 victory Friday, that meant a brief, heated skirmish with Denver center JaVale McGee.

It also has produced constant edginess with Kenneth Faried, McGee and any Nugget in a Bogut-sized radius, and his hard screens opened up space for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack.

"I hope fans understand how much havoc it causes when he goes out there and gives his body up for the betterment of the team," Jack said of Bogut.

Havoc is one way to put it. Other ways: bruises, body slams and bad intentions.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson proudly calls Bogut the team's enforcer and correctly says the franchise had lacked one until Bogut arrived.

Or, more specifically, until Bogut finally got his legs back after months of prolonged off/on ankle pain and recovery.

But now, just in time for the playoffs, this is the Bogut ferocity that the Warriors expected when they acquired him in a megadeal that sent Monta Ellis to Milwaukee in March 2012.

"I still don't think he's at full strength yet," Jack said of Bogut. "But I think people are starting to see what the big fuss was about."

After losing David Lee in Game 1, the Warriors still have out-rebounded Denver in every game of this series.

And Bogut has been the Warriors' best defensive player, by measure of advanced statistics and the number of Nuggets players irritated by Bogut's style.

"They're physical -- I mean, Kenneth Faried runs around and hits people," Bogut said. "We've just got to match their intensity.

"If it gets personal during games, guys want to have a crack at you, that's kind of playoff basketball."

Jackson points out that Bogut's edginess is rubbing off on rookie backup center Festus Ezeli, who lately has been aggressively challenging every shot he can.

So now the Warriors have two angry men at center? For a franchise used to a parade of Adonal Foyle, Patrick O'Bryant and Andris Biedrins, this is a dramatic development.

"I think I'm just angry this year with my ankle, to be honest," said Bogut, who is averaging 10.3 rebounds and two blocks per game in this series.

"I think I'm extra angry because it's been a frustrating year for me. So I guess I'm just letting all that emotion out in this playoff series."

The Warriors are up 2-1 in the series, with a game at Oracle Arena on Sunday; then they'll head back to Denver for Game 5, when Bogut will be the biggest villain in the house.

"That's how it should be," Bogut said. "I don't want them to like me. I don't want them to send me love messages and messages of positivity.

"I think if you look at yourself at the end of the series and the other team is saying, 'That was a good series, that was fun to watch,' no, no, we don't want that."

The meanest man in Warriorland won't get any of that. He's making sure of it, one crash at a time.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami.