Rodney Stuckey scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Pistons beat the Knicks for the first time in eight meetings, 92-86 on Tuesday night.
Smith added 19 points for the Pistons, who had allowed at least 109 points to four of their previous five opponents. They held New York to 43 percent shooting.
"We're long, we're athletic," Smith said. "There shouldn't be a reason why we can't do that each and every night. Hopefully we're turning the corner and we're establishing ourselves on the defensive end."
Only one other team, the Boston Celtics, had been held under 90 points this season by the Pistons.
Detroit led 71-63 after three quarters and scored the first seven points of the fourth. New York cut the lead to four in the final minute, but the Knicks couldn't reduce the deficit to one possession.
Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points. New York (3-7) has lost three in a row.
"We didn't do anything on the offensive end, and then we didn't get the stops we needed at the end. We put ourselves in a situation where we needed to get every stop down the stretch, and that's tough to do," New York's Kenyon Martin said.
"We're going to get this together. Teams go through slumps like that during a season, but we are doing it in November, so it gets magnified. We just have to figure out our problems on offense."
New York guard Raymond Felton missed the game because of an injured lower back and left hip area. Beno Udrih started at guard, his first start of the season. Martin also got his first start of 2013-14 for the Knicks, giving them some size against Detroit's big front line. New York is already without Tyson Chandler because of a broken leg.
Neither team led by more than six in the first half. The Pistons (4-6) were ahead 55-54 before going on a 7-0 run in the third quarter. Smith made a 3-pointer, and Anthony was called for a technical foul moments later -- after he apparently thought he was fouled on a missed shot.
Stuckey made the free throw, and a 3-pointer by Kyle Singler made it 62-54.
"I think we lost our composure there in the third quarter," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "First quarter, we were really good offensively, but as the game went on, we gradually stopped executing and moving the ball. We played like a team that was tired, but there was no reason for us to be tired. Some of that is because of Raymond, but you can't use that as an excuse."
Stuckey started the fourth quarter with a fadeaway, and after Amar'e Stoudemire was called for a technical, Stuckey's free throw pushed the lead to 11. Stuckey added a 17-footer, and Drummond's dunk made it 78-63.
"My role is to come off the bench and just bring energy, and that's what I'm trying to do this year," Stuckey said.
Detroit's Brandon Jennings was bothered by an upset stomach early and scored only two points, but he had seven assists.
Stuckey shot 8 of 14 from the field.
"We kept the ball in his hands and he made plays for us," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said.
It was Detroit's first victory over the Knicks since March 18, 2011, when the Pistons beat New York 99-95.
Detroit was short-handed too, with guards Chauncey Billups (knee tendinitis) and Will Bynum (sore left hamstring) both out. ... New York F Metta World Peace missed the game with a sore left knee. It was nine years to the day after he was involved in an infamous brawl in a game at Detroit while a member of the Indiana Pacers. ... Drummond shot an airball on a free throw late in the second quarter.