The visitors looked the stronger of the two sides from the start as they surged to an 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter, with James Harden leading the way.
The Lakers were boosted by the return of Kobe Bryant, who missed most of last season with knee and Achilles injuries, but his 19-point contribution did little to slow down the Houston attack.
Tempers flared in the fourth quarter when Dwight Howard elbowed Bryant in the face as the pair battled for the ball, resulting in their teammates having to separate the two players.
Things got worse for the Lakers moments after the game resumed when rookie Julius Randle tried to add some consolation points for the hosts late on, but he collided with a pair of Rockets players under the basket, leaving the teenager with a broken leg on his NBA debut.
LA have a chance to put the defeat behind them tonight as they face the Phoenix Suns, while the Rockets also play again later against the Utah Jazz.