Irving scores 40 points on return but Celtics lose again

Kyrie Irving marked his return from injury with a 40-point game against the Orlando Magic, but he could not prevent the Boston Celtics from slipping to a home defeat.

Irving missed the Celtics' defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers because of a shoulder problem but returned on Sunday with an excellent performance.

The five-time All-Star point guard went 14 of 23 from the field and hit five of his seven shots from the three-point line, but the Celtics were still beaten 103-95 at TD Garden.

The Celtics, who have the best record in the Eastern Conference with a 34-13 mark, have now lost their last three, but Irving believes the losing run may be a blessing.

"We had to hit some adversity," Irving said. "We have to hit something. Like, we need it as a team."

Irving and the Celtics now head out on a four-game road trip featuring a meeting with NBA title favourites the Golden State Warriors.

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