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The pissed-on Pistons are pissed off no longer. I submit that Detroit's players were happier about their win Saturday night, their first in 29 tries and 63 days, than any team has ever been over a regular-season win (or in-season tournament victory, for that matter). Just look at the quotes! These are quotes you hear from a team that just won a Conference Final Game 7.

"Guys were screaming. I was almost in tears," said head coach Monty Williams. "I feel amazing," said Cade Cunningham. "I'm just so happy," said Jalen Duren. Duren, in keeping with the theme of sounding more like a team with title aspirations than one that just guaranteed it won't lose 80 games, added that the vibe in the locker room was to "enjoy this, but we're not done yet."

Here, one incapable of happiness might quibble that the 129-127 win came against a Raptors team playing its second of back-to-backs, and which was down three rotation players including its best defender because of a trade earlier in the day, and which made it frighteningly interesting at the end anyway. To this hypothetical grinch I say: Shut up! The Pistons won a game!

A W is a W is enshrined as international law, and in this W Detroit looked for all the world like a real, grown-up NBA team. All five starters scored in double figures, paced by Cunningham's 30. Their second unit kept them in it. They hit their free throws. It was all exceedingly and unexpectedly normal. They weathered a hot start from Toronto, took a lead with 10:03 left in the second, and never trailed again, fighting off a couple of second-half Toronto runs. There's so little to say about the game itself because of its anonymity in a sea of competently played basketball, except for the unfamiliarity of it coming at the hands of this Pistons team, which has alternately appeared doomed by its roster, by its coaching, by fate, and by its own expectations of failure engendered by the unerringly growing track record of such. But the streak had to end sometime—even a 16 seed will eventually beat a 1, given enough chances—and that it ends at 28, tying but not surpassing the 2014–15 and 2015–16 Sixers for the NBA's worst all-time, is itself a failure of superlative to be celebrated. Detroit: Not quite bad enough to the be the absolute worst. Put that on a banner and light the beam, which is in fact a laser pointer from

Looking at the joy and relief on the faces of the Pistons after the buzzer sounded, I think there are some lessons to be taken. The first is maybe a little dangerous, but I think we've discovered a shortcut to happiness: Be very, very bad at something for a long, long time, which sets the bar so low that even a single flash of mediocrity will look and feel like an accomplishment. (Your boss will love this one.) The second lesson is somewhat more hopeful: that there is no professional misery so deep that it can permanently remove your capacity to feel pleasure. Pistons 1, anhedonia 0.

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