Los Angeles closed within three points with 20 seconds to go on a pair of foul shots by Kobe Bryant, but Houston had two perfect trips to the line to put the game away and win its second in a row. The Lakers had a four-game winning streak snapped and lost at home for only the sixth time this season.
The outcome further tightened the Western Conference playoff race, which at the end of the evening had Dallas, Houston, Denver, Utah and Phoenix separated by 2 1/2 games in the fight for the final three post-season spots.
The Lakers' lead over the Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the Pacific Division was cut to 1 1/2 games.
Dragic scored 26 points to lead the Rockets and Luis Scola added 25. Houston made 10-of-17 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles got 28 points from Bryant, but he made just 8-of-20 shots from the field.
Andrew Bynum had 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the Lakers but they had to play most of the fourth quarter without him after he was ejected for drawing his second technical foul.