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Can expectations get any lower for Nets?

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It seems that everyone thinks the Nets shouldn't be in the playoffs ... and will be summarily dismissed by Hawks anyway.  Pundits are disturbed that the Nets got in while the Thunder have gone fishing,  Many of them want the playoffs changed as a result.

Bill Simmons of ESPN and Grantland is typical...

Lionel Hollins has been lowering expectations as well, but that seems to be strategic in that he may be just trying to motivate his charges.  "I don’t think we have any advantage over the Hawks," Hollins said in a conference call Thursday. "That’s why they’re 60 and whatever they are [60-22], and that’s why we are where we are. They have a very good team."

Bovada, the big Las Vegas oddsmaker, has the Nets at 75-1 to come out of the East, 200-1 to win it all.

Not everyone feels that way. Brad Daugherty, the former Cavs center now with ESPN...

"The Brooklyn Nets are a very talented basketball team. They haven't lived up to their expectations, they've underachieved but they've started to play a little bit better.  Once you get into the post-season, it's a different season, just like Joe Johnson said. Brook Lopez is a problem for the Atlanta Hawks to defend. They've got great guard play in Williams. They've got all the intangibles to win basketball games and they got a heck of a basketball coach ... They could be a very dangerous basketball team."

Charles Barkley thinks people are underestimating the Nets as well, talking on a TNT conference call...

"I don’t think Brooklyn can beat them. But I think it can be a very interesting series.

"There’s teams you don’t want to play and there’s teams that you’re like, ‘OK, if we play well we can beat this team.’ Brook Lopez is going to be getting layups and dunks. Horford, who’s a terrific player, and Millsap, they’re going to be shooting jumpers. I just don’t like jump-shooting teams in a seven-game series."

Of course, back in 2002, Sir Charles picked the Nets to beat the Lakers and thought Keith Van Horn would be Finals MVP.

All the punditry is lost on Irina Pavlova.  She even quotes Shakespeare's Hamlet in her hashtag.

It won't be long now.  And do note this: over the last month of the regular season, the Nets in their big playoff push played nearly .700 basketball, going 13-6. The Hawks? Just .500 at 8-8.