It only kills it if you fails to meet us in the playoffs. That's all that matters.
You are correct in saying that the national media won't care as much, but they only cared to begin with for all the wrong reasons.
The important thing is, you need to BEAT the Pistons in the playoffs at some point in order to make it a true rivalry. It didn't become a true rivalry with the Knicks until you beat them in 1995.