Smith drove into the lane off forward Kyle Singler's inbounds pass after the Suns sealed off the play's first option, forward Greg Monroe. Smith missed a potential go-ahead jumper with the Pistons trailing New York by one point in the closing seconds of an 89-85 loss on Tuesday.
"The last time I had the opportunity in New York, I settled for a jump shot," said Smith, who also contributed 11 rebounds and five assists. "I wanted to be aggressive. I learned from that play that I made. I wanted to put the onus on the officials and I was able to get a good look at it."
Monroe supplied 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who gave away an 18-point lead in the second half but still snapped a five-game home losing streak. Detroit gave away fourth-quarter leads in four of those losses.
"We didn't get down on ourselves," Smith said. "We were able to stay together. We all had confidence in each other to get the job down and we did it tonight."
Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings tied Isiah Thomas' franchise record with 16 assists in the first half. Thomas had a 16-assist half against Dallas on Feb. 13, 1985. Jennings finished with 18 assists, one shy of his career high.
Guard Will Bynum added 16 points and center Andre Drummond posted his 27th double-double, second most in the league, with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Minnesota forward Kevin Love has 31 double-doubles.
"When you play a team like that, with the floor spread with shooters, they can easily get back in the game because they can make threes," said Pistons coach Mo Cheeks, who recorded his 300th coaching win. "It's not just one guy, they have three or four guys who have the ability to make shots like that."
"Nine times out of 10, you're not going to win those," Tucker said. "We've done that before and came back and won after being down 21, but this team got it going early and it was hard to turn it off once they got it going."
The Pistons stretched their 13-point halftime lead to 72-54 in the third quarter and still led by 10, 89-79, by the end of the quarter. The Suns then reeled off the first seven points of the fourth quarter to begin their comeback.
"We've had a lot (of games) where we go in afterwards and say we should have won the game," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "You can't think you can turn it on for 24 minutes and win the game."
Smith made a 3-pointer with the shot clock about to expire to put the Pistons up 108-105. But Smith fouled guard Gerald Green on a 3-point try with 4.3 seconds left and Green made all three free throws. Smith redeemed himself on the next possession with his layup and Green's desperation shot at the buzzer fell short.
NOTES: Detroit reserve PG Chauncey Billups sat out for precautionary reasons on the second game of a back-to-back. Phoenix was playing for the sixth time without second-leading scorer Eric Bledsoe (knee surgery). ... Pistons PF Greg Monroe averaged 7.0 points in his five previous games against the Suns, his lowest against any opponent. ... Phoenix won seven of the last nine meetings. ... Suns PG Goran Dragic and Miami F LeBron James are the only players averaging at least 19 points and five assists while shooting 48 percent from the field. Dragic was averaging 19.2 points and 6.2 assists on 48.7 percent shooting entering the game. ... Pistons F Josh Smith became the third player in NBA history on Friday to have at least 22 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and four steals in a game. The only other players to do that besides Smith, who posted those numbers at Philadelphia, were Kareem Adbul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon. ... The Suns were averaging 105.2 points in the previous 17 games.