Brooklyn Nets: 3 things to watch against surging Bucks

Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

The banged-up Brooklyn Nets return home Monday to open a brutal 3-game homestand against the red-hot and NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

The Brooklyn Nets return to Barclays Center, where they have won nine straight games and 13 of their last 14, Monday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks, winners of nine of their last 10 games and owners of the NBA’s best record.

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The Nets (28-26) come home after an 0-2 road trip to San Antonio and Orlando, the team’s first back-to-back losses since Dec. 28-29, when they lost on the road to the Charlotte Hornets and their first meeting with the Bucks.

Brooklyn will be trying to avoid their third straight loss, which would be their longest losing streak since their eight-game skid in late November and early December.

The Bucks (38-13) are firing on all cylinders right now, winners of their last three games and 3-1 as they prepare to close out a five-game road trip in Brooklyn.

All three of those most recent wins have been by double-digits on the road at Detroit, Toronto and Washington.

Milwaukee is also relatively healthy and are expected to have point guard Eric Bledsoe back on Monday after he missed Saturday night’s win over the Wizards with soreless in his left Achilles.

The Nets, meanwhile, are anything but healthy. Joe Harris was noticeably laboring in Saturday’s loss to the Orlando Magic after a couple of hard fall.

Per Michael Gallagher of NBC, Yahoo Sports and Rotoworld, Harris is questionable for Monday with soreness in his right hip.

Milwaukee’s latest burst — which includes a 13-3 record since the start of the new year and a 23-6 run since Dec. 1 — has the Bucks 1½ games up on the Raptors atop the East and also holding a 1½-game lead over the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets (who visit Brooklyn Wednesday) for the NBA’s best record.

The Bucks are 16-9 on the road, the second-best visiting mark in the league behind Golden State’s 18-8 record. The Nets are 16-11 at Barclays Center after a 3-10 start to the season at home.

Brooklyn is still sixth in the East, now a game ahead of the seventh-place Hornets (26-26) and 2½ up on the eighth-place Miami Heat. The Detroit Pistons, currently ninth, are 4½ games in the rear-view mirror.

Here are three things to watch when the Bucks visit the Nets Monday night.