Dwyane Wade scored 41 points and the Miami Heat remained in first place in the Southeast Division by holding off the visiting Washington Wizards last night, 90-76.

It's the second time Wade has topped 40 this season, both against Washington; he scored 40 last Wednesday in the nation's capital.

"We didn't want to lose this game," said Wade. "When you've got a team that's not playing as well and in disarray, you've got to take advantage of it."

Mario Chalmers hit a three-pointer that put Miami up by eight points with 1 minute, 47 seconds remaining in regulation. The Heat are 6-1, matching the best seven-game start in franchise history.

Gilbert Arenas finished with 21 points, eight assists and 12 turnovers for the Wizards, who lost an 11-point, second-half lead.

In other games:

* At Charlotte, Dwight Howard had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Vince Carter scored 15 in his return from a sprained ankle, and the Orlando Magic romped over the Bobcats, 93-81.

* At Chicago, Chauncey Billups hit the go-ahead free throw with 0.6 seconds left and the Denver Nuggets beat the Bulls, 90-89, after a potential winning jumper by Brad Miller was overturned following a replay review.

* At Dallas, Jason Terry had 24 points, Dirk Nowitzki 23, Erick Dampier 14 and 20 rebounds as the Mavericks topped the Houston Rockets, 121-103.

* At Memphis, Brandon Roy scored 20 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers won their third straight with a 93-79 victory over the Grizzlies.

* At Sacramento, Camden's Jason Thompson had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Kings defeated Oklahoma City, 101-98.


* Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing officials on his blog.

* Shaquille O'Neal's wife Va'Shaundya O'Neal filed for legal separation with intent to divorce Monday in Los Angeles. * Al Cervi, a Hall of Famer who coached the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA championship and the Philadelphia Warriors during the 1958-59 season, has died in upstate New York at age 92.