NBA beat: Warriors’ Bogut bucks trend with physical play

If you’ve ever watched Andrew Bogut play, the following statement might surprise you.

“I don’t make it a point to try and be physical,” Bogut said. “I just always try to keep contact with these guys. That’s the way I play.”

Don’t get Bogut wrong. He is physical, even if that’s not always the goal.

The Golden State center is valued for his defense and rebounding on a team with plenty of offensive options, including the explosive backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Bogut was rewardedbefore the season with a three-year contract extension worth up to $42 million with incentives.

A scorer in his days with Milwaukee, he focuses on defense for the Warriors.

Bogut is a throwback. The bruising center is among the best defensive presences around, filling a role the NBA seemingly has tried to phase out with all the rule changes geared toward offense.

“It’s just obviously probably less physical inside,” Bogut said. “When I came in (the league in 2005), there was Shaq (O’Neal) and those types of bodies in the paint. It’s a little more up and down now. The NBA wants high-scoring games, which is fair enough. They don’t want a lot of holding and grabbing. Scores in the 80s and 90s aren’t entertaining to fans. It’s been like that the last three or four years.”

Bogut, however, hasn’t tried to add finesse. Rather, he’s an enforcer around the basket.

“That’s my role on this team, to protect the rim,” Bogut said. “And there are going to be nights I foul out because of it.”

But in a league where many players, including big men, would gladly give up a basket for a chance to score, Bogut’s style is unpopular. More than once a player has taken an exception to Bogut’s tactics.

Bogut, however, doesn’t begrudge officials who call fouls against him. He said their job is tough enough dealing with all the rule changes.

Bogut has four technical fouls this season and has been suspended for a game for his part in an altercation with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“The league’s changed a lot since my rookie year,” he said. “It’s much harder to get after it down low – you pick up fouls pretty quick. I’ve had a couple of run-ins with a couple of guys this season already. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. I just think guys are frustrated, and then I get involved, and then I get technical fouls.”

It’s all part of the job for Bogut.

Trending up

Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving had probably his most embarrassing offensive showing on Dec. 6. He missed each of his 12 shots – nine from the field and three from the three-throw line.

Irving, however, has bounced back to average 26.8 points in the Cavaliers’ last four games .

Irving likely will make his second straight All-Star appearance. At this pace in the voting, he’ll start in the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans.

Trending down

The Philadelphia 76ers have gone from early season surprise to near the bottom of the Eastern Conference thanks to a six-game losing streak.

It’s no coincidence that rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams has been out with a right knee infection. The Sixers are 6-9 with Carter-Williams and 1-9 without him.

Last words

“We all read HoopsHype. You see it every day. You see it whenever they update it and everyone talks about it. But we joke about it a little bit. We make it more of a lighter-type thing, don’t make it a heavy-hearted thing, make it a joke, like, ‘Hey man, you still here?’ ”

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry to TSN on rumors he’ll be traded. The Raptors already have dealt their other two big names – Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay.