Despite scoring a game-high 26 points Wednesday night, Paul was unable to avert an 84-82 loss to the Orlando Magic.
With the No. 2 seed in the East up for grabs, the Truth led a tremendous second half comeback, scoring 19 points in the second half, leading a 9-2 run late in the fourth quarter.
Two missed field goals by the Magic gave the Celtics the last shot, but Dwight Howard blocked Paul's layup with 3.8 seconds left in the game.
"I drove to the hole," Paul said to the Sports Network. "The way the game was being called I wasn't fouled. I should have just taken the short jumper. Dwight made a great play on the ball. It just put us in a bind after that. We fouled and did not have any timeouts left."
Down two with 1.6 seconds on the clock, the Truth's three while falling out of bounds fell off the mark.
HOME COURT OR HEALTHY?
No. 34 and the Cs are now tied or second place with the Magic in the Eastern Conference. The Magic own the tiebreaker should the two teams end up having identical records. Boston remains five games behind the Cavaliers for the number one spot and home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
Coach Rivers said a healthy team will make the real difference.
"Our guys don't care about [home court]," Rivers said to the Associated Press. "They want to get healthy. And when we get healthy, we're willing to lace up against anybody."
No. 34 and the Cs travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM Eastern Time. The game can be seen on NBA TV.
Magic clinch SE Division, tie Boston for second in East (Sports Network, Mar. 25, 2009)
Magic Switch: Orlando bounces Boston from 2nd (Associated Press, Mar. 25, 2009)
Deja vu (www.RedsArmy.com, Mar. 25, 2009)