DALLAS -- Delonte West is new around here, but even he could tell that Wednesday's practice took on a more serious tone after two embarrassing home losses for the defending champs to start the season.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was on hand, perched on the overhang above the practice floor located in the basement of the American Airlines Center and looking as if he had just taken part in a team workout described as "hard" and focused on defense and conditioning.
"Even though it is early on you could sense that sense of urgency in the air," West said. "The victory lap is over. I think that’s a little bit what we were doing. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses; I wasn’t here last year. It’s a total different team and like I said, the fans and the team, everybody, the trophy is up on the shelf now, the banner is raised and it’s time to get after it. It’s not going to be easy. The banner’s up and every team we face knows that and they’re trying to prove something."
That includes Thursday's opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who returned this season with the same young, burgeoning roster that lost to the Mavs in five games in the Western Conference finals -- and routed Dallas twice in the preseason.
The Mavs' first road game begins a stretch of seven games in 10 days, including the Thunder at the American Airlines Center on Monday.
"Everything is coming down to conditioning and getting in better shape," said West, who was brought in as the backup point guard but started at shooting guard in Monday's game. "That’s what we don’t have right now. Even when you make mistakes, just hustling and covering for one another, sometimes covering up mistakes on the offensive and defensive end, and that’s what we don’t have right now. We’re not getting that second and third effort. If one link of the chain breaks down the unit breaks down."