In an effort to rekindle memories of the storied Celtics-Lakers rivalry, the Maine Red Claws distributed white T-shirts with “BEAT LA” in green block letters to fans willing to brave the snowy roads Saturday night and watch the D-League affiliates of Boston and Los Angeles do battle at the Portland Expo.

A crowd announced as 1,574 never mustered the chant that once reverberated through the Boston Garden, nor did Maine manage to beat L.A. The Claws did show enough tenacity to erase a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit, but eventually fell 119-111 to the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

It marked the first time this season the Red Claws (9-5) have lost consecutive games. They play again Sunday afternoon against Erie, which beat the D-Fenders (10-4) by 19 points on Thursday in Pennsylvania.

When Troy DeVries – a 34-year-old graybeard whose career includes stints in Portugal, Turkey, Venezuela, Spain, Ukraine, Australia and Germany – drained a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a 95-78 lead early in the final quarter, things looked bleak for the Red Claws.

“Some plays went our way and some plays didn’t,” said Maine guard Damion Lee, “but in the game of basketball or any sport in general, you just gotta make sure you fight until the end.”

Celtics rookie Demetrius Jackson, assessed a technical foul after becoming entangled with and then throwing to the floor D-Fender point guard Josh Magette late in the third quarter, took a pass from Lee and sank a 3-pointer. Over the next four minutes, the Claws fought their way back into contention.

Abdel Nader sank consecutive 3-pointers and Jackson hit two more of his own. Lee converted a drive, and then, with a little more than six minutes remaining, pulled up on a fast break and swished a 3-pointer to make it 100-100.

Another defensive stop gave the Red Claws a chance to take their first lead since the first quarter.

“And then we took a bad shot,” said Maine Coach Scott Morrison. “We tied it up and then we came down and took a bad shot.”

That shot was Lee from the right wing, another 3-point attempt, before any passes or, as Morrison preaches, touching the paint.

“Knowing I just hit one,” Lee said, “coming down, I gave him a little move, he bit, and I let it fly. I could have gotten a better shot for us, but as a basketball player you’ve got to remain confident. Especially, knowing myself, that shooting is one of my strengths.”

Vander Blue, a former Celtic who in February 2014 played one game at the Expo in a Red Claws uniform, responded with a three-point play and the D-Fenders regained the lead for good.

Blue finished with 31 points. Magette added 16 points and nine assists. Justin Harper had 19 points and 15 rebounds.

“They’re a good team, but we just depended on our defense and trying to get to the rim,” Blue said. “We stayed composed under pressure and came out with the win.”

Each summer, Blue lives with his former Marquette teammate, Jae Crowder of the Celtics, and often works out at Boston’s facility in Waltham.

“So I’m very close with the Boston family,” Blue said. “Obviously, there was a little more juice. I know Jae was probably checking in on the game so I wanted to play well, for sure.”

Lee finished with 25 points and a team-high five assists. Jackson had 23 points, while Nader chipped in with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“I thought we were going to win it the whole time,” Nader said. “Just a tough one.”

Los Angeles led 35-29 after one quarter and ended the half by scoring twice in the final 2.5 seconds, on a Blue drive and a Kenneth Smith inbounds steal and layup for a 60-49 lead. The D-Fenders extended that lead to 89-76 entering the fourth quarter.

“The first half, I didn’t think we played very well,” Morrison said. “We took a lot of bad shots, had a couple key turnovers that led to their layups. Our transition D in the first half was poor. We were slow getting back and got cross-matched, and they took advantage of it, did a good job.”

The comeback served as a reminder that the Red Claws are rarely out of a game, particularly not when they shoot 17 of 45 from beyond the arc.

“You know, we hit a couple bad shots,” Morrison said, “but we missed a lot more than we hit. Unless the guys want to be perfect on defense, they’re going to have to be a lot more efficient on offense.”

NOTES: Los Angeles used a trapping press that helped produce seven steals (to Maine’s two). Three of the D-Fenders’ eight offensive rebounds came after missed free throws, including one that led to a deflating Magette 3-pointer that gave Los Angeles a 113-103 lead. … There was a moment of silence before the national anthem to honor former TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager, who died Thursday at age 65.

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