G Stephen Jackson and G Brandon Jennings put up matching 20 point efforts, and the Bucks delivered the Rockets their first loss in two weeks.
Kevin Martin paced Houston with 29 points, and three other Rockets added 13 points or more, but the short-handed Rockets couldn't extend their season-best streak to eight games.
Just eight Rockets played on Wednesday night, and starting PG Kyle Lowry logged 43 minutes, nearly six more than his season average. Lowry finished with eight points, eight rebounds and 10 assists, continuing his well-rounded start to 2012.
Houston continues its four game home stand Friday night when they host the Washington Wizards.