MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade had a message for his team at halftime. Lose this game, he said, and it will linger for the remainder of the season.
It was a personal pep talk more than anything else.
Wade scored 41 points, 29 in the second half -- outscoring Washington by two points over the final 24 minutes -- and the Miami Heat remained in first place in the Southeast Division by holding off the Wizards 90-76 on Tuesday night.
"Second half, we just came out with a sense of urgency," Wade said. "We didn't want to lose this game. When you've got a team that's not playing as well and in disarray, you've got to take advantage of it."
It's the second time Wade has topped 40 this season, both against Washington: He scored 40 last Wednesday in the nation's capital.
Michael Beasley scored 15 points and Mario Chalmers added 13, including a 3-pointer that put Miami up by eight with 1:47 remaining. The Heat are 6-1 for the first time in a decade, matching the best seven-game start in franchise history.
"It feels good to be winning," Heat guard Quentin Richardson said. "This was definitely a game where we saw a little adversity. That showed a little character for us."
For Gilbert Arenas, it was a night to forget.
He led the Wizards with 21 points, but most notably, had a career-high 12 turnovers -- seven of the giveaways coming in a 6-minute span of the third quarter, and not coincidentally, that was the stretch where Miami erased an 11-point deficit and turned things around with a 16-3 run.
"It's the same thing every game," Arenas said. "We go into that third quarter where we can't score, we can't pass, we can't catch, we can't think."
He was the first NBA player with that many turnovers since Feb. 1, 2007 -- when Wade did it against Cleveland.
Caron Butler's jumper with 6:24 left gave Washington a 73-71 lead. It was the Wizards' final field goal, as they were outscored 19-3 the rest of the way.
"Our offense just killed us," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.
Carlos Arroyo added 10 points for Miami.
The already-depleted Washington bench got even thinner midway through the second quarter, when guard Randy Foye sprained his right ankle and did not return. He's the fourth Washington guard now sidelined, joining Mike James (broken left ring finger), Mike Miller (sprained left shoulder) and Javarris Crittenton (left foot). Forward Antawn Jamison (shoulder) is also sidelined.
"We just need some rest time," Saunders said. "I've never been in a situation where I've lost three point guards."
The Heat came into the game as the only NBA team that hadn't faced a 10-point deficit this season.
It took Washington little more than a quarter to change that.
Arenas -- whose status was unknown until moments before tip-off because of a balky left calf -- ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer and opened the second with a 14-footer. Dominic McGuire hit a 19-footer about a minute later as the shot clock was expiring, and Washington had a 31-21 lead.
Miami's deficit was 49-41 at halftime, and it could have been worse.
The final minute of the half was key. Richardson took a charge to erase what would have been a basket by Butler. Chalmers made a 3-pointer on the next possession to cut the Wizards' lead -- which would have been 13 if Butler's shot counted -- to eight, and Wade kept it there by forcing Arenas into a miss to close the half.
Then Wade gave his halftime speech, and everything changed.
"Dwyane was able to do what he does," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Greatness."
- Washington made its first five shots.
- Legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula was courtside.
- The curtains over part of the top level of the arena were drawn, cutting capacity from 19,600 to 16,500. They likely won't be that way Thursday, when LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers visit.