Compete every night and maybe steal a game or two in the process.

Those were both realistic goals for the Boston Celtics when they embarked on their current West coast trip that is now two games into the books.

But that glass-half-full optimism was before two blowout losses in as many games, which has the Celtics in the kind of downward spiral that doesn't seem ready to bottom out anytime soon.

Oh, things will get better for the Boston Celtics.

It just won't be this season.

People thought Celtics forward Gerald Wallace was talking crazy when he said this trip had the potential to destroy the Celtics season.

He was right.

The last two games have been as bad as the Celtics have played all season at both ends of the floor.

They are indeed a defensive team, so when the defense struggles as it has of late, they just fall apart like a house of cards at both ends of the floor and have no shot at winning.

But the problems the Celtics are dealing with now have little to do with losing eight of their last nine and five in a row.

Don't be disillusioned, folks.

This season has never been about and never will be about winning games and getting to the playoffs for the Celtics.

If it happens, great.

If not, no biggie.

This season has been about developing a defensive-minded foundation that competes every night, regardless of the opponent.

After a rocky start, it seemed as though the Celtics had indeed found their defensive mojo.

They were still a sub-.500 team, but at least they were making teams work on a daily basis and more important, they gave themselves a chance to be successful.

However, Boston's defense has become progressively worse in all phases of the game.

After ranking among the NBA's top 10 in 3-point defense most of this season, they have slipped to end-of-the-line status of late as they allowed Boston to shoot 9-for-19 on 3s while the Nuggets were even more prolific as the Celtics allowed them to make a season-high 14 3s.