Rodney Stuckey contributed 23 points off the bench, while Andre Drummond gave 15 points and five blocked shots to help Detroit break a three-game slide. Kyle Singler had 11 points and five steals in the win.
Rudy Gay paced the Kings with 20 points, Isaiah Thomas chipped in 19 points and eight assists and DeMarcus Cousins stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 14 boards and six blocks. The Kings have now dropped three in a row, falling to 1-3 on their season-long seven-game road trip.
"Just a lot of small mistakes that we continued to do throughout the game," said Cousins. "Tough night for us."
Sacramento controlled the early portion of the contest, leading by as many as 11 points during the first quarter. Gay's personal 5-0 run, which he capped with a turn-around jumper at 5:05, boosted the visitors to a 21-10 lead.
Smith hit a pair of jumpers after that and Stuckey worked his way to the foul line, hitting four in a row before Singler potted a 3-pointer to pull the hosts within a point. The Kings led 31-28 after one.
The lead held until Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came up with a steal and slam just about five minutes into the second. The dunk tied the score at 41-apiece, and the two teams played relatively even the rest of the half. Sacramento's margin at intermission was 54-52.
The Pistons pulled away thanks to a near flawless defensive frame in the third, as they held the Kings to just 11 points on 4-of-20 shooting. Smith and Brandon Jennings opened the period with 3-pointers, and Detroit led the rest of the way.
"We didn't give them easy looks," said Detroit interim head coach John Loyer. "In that quarter I think we held them to 11 points and our contest rate was one of the highest of the year."
The spread reached 16 points after Greg Monroe's layup with 5:11 to play.
Monroe had 12 rebounds and Will Bynum handed out seven assists for Detroit ... Sacramento shot just 3-of-15 from 3-point range ... The Kings, who are 9-22 away from home this season, continue their road swing in Philadelphia on Wednesday ... The Pistons visit Toronto on Wednesday.