Then with 36.1 seconds left, Perkins and Dwight Howard were jostling in the post, and Perkins was whistled for his third personal. Perkins outstretched his arms and protested the call as he turned away from referee Eddie F. Rush, who apparently decided he went too far.
Rush called the technical, Perkins looked on with an expression of stunned disbelief, then slowly shuffled to the other end of the court and eventually through the tunnel to the Boston locker room.
Perkins finished with two points and four rebounds over 16 minutes.
But his penalty might have implications beyond Wednesday's game. After entering the game with five postseason technical fouls, Perkins would be at the limit of seven -- provided both technicals stand upon league review -- and will be suspended for Boston's next playoff game.
"I didn't think he deserved either one. But he got them," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
By game's end, all three of Boston's primary centers were gone, a variety of reasons sending them away before the conclusion of Orlando's 113-92 season-saving win.
Question is, when Game 6 rolls around, who will Boston have to match up with Howard?
"Well, it's not a pleasant thought," Rivers said.
Glen Davis was diagnosed with a concussion, and there was no immediate word on the severity.
He was defending Howard as the Magic star maneuvered near the basket with about 22 seconds left in the third quarter. Howard's left elbow struck Davis in the face, and Davis began staggering, falling to the floor and staying down on his back for a few seconds.
Rasheed Wallace tweaked his back.
Wallace fouled out with 4:49 remaining after scoring 21 points in 18 minutes on 7-for-9 shooting. After a brief moment on the Boston bench, he shuffled slowly toward the Boston locker room as well. Little-used Shelden Williams took over at center when Wallace departed, only his second appearance in the series.
When the Celtics' locker room opened following the game, Perkins was gone, and Wallace later declined interview requests.
Not good signs, not at all, for a team trying to avoid becoming the first club in NBA history to take a 3-0 lead and not win a series. They're halfway to history on that front.
Rivers talked before the game about the danger Perkins was nearing, having been tagged with numerous double technicals this postseason.
Perkins, who didn't earn his first technical until Game 5 of a first-round triumph over the Miami Heat, has now been part of five double technicals, the first three coming in the conference semifinals when he was frequently covering Cleveland's Shaquille O'Neal.
"I have talked to him," Rivers said before Wednesday's game. "The double technical is what's getting most guys in trouble. The flagrants, I can understand, if you had a ton of glaring flagrants, at some point, you should get suspended. Or if you have a ton of techs for arguing with the refs, just plain back-and-forth with the refs. But the double-technical thing has to be resolved. That's where two players, getting physical, and officials are just trying to clean the game up. The easier way is the double technical, it calms the game down.
"If you look at Kendrick, four of them are [double-technicals]. Those are the ones we have to figure out a better way. I'm a typical guy -- I don't have a solution, but I can point out the problem."
The NBA said it would have an answer Thursday about Perkins' status for Game 6.
"We've put ourselves in that position," Rivers said after the game. "And like I told our guys, you can't make any excuses."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.