CLEVELAND -- — The Cavaliers made sure things didn't go from bad to worse.
Reserve guard Brandon Goodwin matched his career-high with 21 points, Jarrett Allen added 16 and Cleveland shook off an ugly road loss — and being without point guard Darius Garland — by rallying to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 93-90 on Monday night.
The Cavs, who played poorly in a 10-point loss at Detroit on Sunday, were without Garland due to a sore lower back.
Cedi Osman started for Garland and finished with a career-high 12 assists and Cleveland got a huge spark from Goodwin, who played for the G League's Cleveland Charge this weekend because he wanted to get extra minutes.
Goodwin finished 8 of 11, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers, in 27 minutes.
“We needed every single one of those buckets,” Kevin Love said of Goodwin, whom he affectionately calls “Double Zero” because of his number. “He's just a ballplayer. He loves to chase the game, and good things happen to people who do that.”
Love added 15 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, which trailed by nine in the fourth quarter but made enough plays down the stretch to hold off the Pelicans.
The Cavs finished with an 11-4 record in January (their most wins in any month since 2017), and continued their rise in the Eastern Conference following last year’s 22-win season.
At halftime, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff didn't like what he was seeing.
"We weren’t playing our way, and they knew that,” he said. "The message was, ‘We’re built to win ugly.’”
Valanciunas could have tied it in the final second, but his drive was tightly contested by Allen and his miss was grabbed by Lamar Stevens, who then made 1 of 2 free throws to close the scoring.
“We wanted to get the ball to Devonte’ going to his left hand, but Okoro did a great job keeping it away from him," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "J.V. (Valanciunas) had a good look at a layup. Unfortunately, he just didn’t make it.”
Garland, who has blossomed into one of the league's rising young guards, has been dealing with a sore lower back and could use some down time. He scored 24 in Sunday’s loss to the Pistons.
New Orleans was also down a major piece as forward Brandon Ingram, who leads the Pelicans in points and assists, missed his fifth game in a row with an ankle injury.
Before the game, Bickerstaff was confident that his team — which has dealt with several key injuries this season, including the loss of leading scorer Collin Sexton and veteran guard Ricky Rubio — would perform better after the dismal showing in Detroit.
But for much of Monday's game, the Cavs were sluggish and trailed 73-63 early in the fourth.
They were able to stay close thanks to Goodwin, whose 3-pointer pulled the Cavs within 84-81 before Isaac Okoro knocked one down from long range to make it 86-84 with 3:31 left. Allen then grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked to tie it 90-all with 1:32 left.
It wasn't pretty, but the Cavs weren't interested in style points.
“This was a very important win,” Osman said. “We got it and that's all that matters.”
Pelicans: Missed their first 12 3-point attempts. ... Green said Ingram is “getting better and better.” Ingram is one of just three NBA players averaging at least 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and three or less turnovers. The Nets' Kevin Durant and the Heat's Jimmy Butler are the others. ... Rookie F Trey Murphy Jr. was active after being cleared from the NBA health and safety protocols. ... It was Hayes' first start, and Green said the team will “explore” him with the first five.
Cavaliers: Were outrebounded 51-37. ... Won their fifth straight at home. ... Cleveland is 11-2 in its last 13 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, which is becoming noticeably louder and fuller as the season progresses. ... F Lauri Markkanen missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. Bickerstaff said Markkanen is improving and has done some “light” basketball work.
Pelicans: Continue their road trip Tuesday at Detroit.
Cavaliers: Visit Houston on Wednesday.