It was slipping away, and New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday knew it.

The deficit had crept back to double digits and some fans had seen enough and were heading for the exits.

Holiday didn't want it to end that way. He gathered his teammates and left them with a message: "This is where we grow up."

It's still far too early to say the Pelicans, who began the season as the youngest team in the NBA, are a mature bunch. But the way they went on a late run to knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-100 before an announced crowd of 15,186 at the New Orleans Arena was quite impressive, if not unimaginable.

Faced with the prospects of taking a major step backward after showing so much progress in their previous two games, the Pelicans (6-6) used a 23-7 run in the final 4:46 to overtake the Cavaliers (4-9) and improve their winning streak to three games.

Afterward coach Monty Williams emphatically pumped his fists and several of his jubilant players were singing in the showers.

"I just felt like that was the time for us to grow," Holiday said. "We were down 10 or 12 points. There are going to be plenty of times, plenty of games we are down like that. It was time for us to grow, grow together. And I think everybody kinda responded to that and picked up their defense."

Indeed. The Pelicans' defense that had suffered many lapses early in the game, started clamping down after the Cavaliers took a 93-81 lead on a 3-pointer by Earl Clark with 4:46 remaining and held Cleveland scoreless for a stretch of more than two minutes to close the gap.

"We stayed the course and came back and played great defense for the last six minutes," Pelicans forward Anthony Davis said. "We got stops and got the win."

Eric Gordon finally put the Pelicans ahead at 100-98 with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 31.7 seconds remaining.

"Definitely a great win," Gordon said. "We needed this. I like these kind of situations. You can't get too high or too low. You need to stay calm, and each possession (is critical). You always need to worry about the next play."

Gordon and Tyreke Evans scored 19 points apiece to lead a balanced Pelicans squad that had six players score in double digits.

Davis added 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Holiday scored 15, Ryan Anderson 13 and Jason Smith 11 for the Pelicans.

Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 22 points, while Jarrett Jack added 19.

Friday's win was the first for the Pelicans in games in which they were trailing entering the fourth quarter. The Pelicans were 0-4 in those situations.