The Suns owned a nine-point advantage heading into the final 90 seconds and almost let the lead get away.
A 3-point shot by Detroit's Kyle Singler brought the Pistons within two and Telfair was fouled immediately after Phoenix inbounded the ball.
Telfair missed his first free throw, but made the second for a three-point advantage. Brandon Knight then missed a shot from beyond the arc that would have forced overtime.
Both teams lost their season opener.
Tayshaun Prince produced 18 points for the Pistons. The teams combined to make just 6-of-24 from 3-point range.