There was something about the Clippers' doomed playoff series against the Houston Rockets that they wanted to recapture.
Chris Paul was out because of an injury, so they plugged Austin Rivers in at starting point guard. That part felt a lot like the opener of the Western Conference semifinals last spring, which the Clippers won in a stunner.
The similarities ended there Saturday night at Staples Center.
Rivers struggled and the Clippers seemed out of sorts without their All-Star point guard, suffering a 109-105 loss to the Rockets that was also largely attributable to the play of James Harden.
Houston's shooting guard was strong from start to finish, scoring 18...