Alan Page writhing between offensive linemen. John Randle, face painted, hog-tying a quarterback. Kirby Puckett scaling the Metrodome plexiglass.

Make room in the gallery. Thursday night, in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Timberwolves produced one of the greatest clutch defensive performances by a Minnesota team since Puckett made that low-center-of-gravity-defying catch in '91.

The Wolves' defense swarmed the defending champs, leading to a 115-70 victory over Denver in an atmosphere you had to hear to believe.

Minnesota has known the Purple People Eaters. There is no natural nickname for this Wolves' defense because they don't wear a distinctive color, and references to cannibalism are no longer fashionable.

Maybe this will suffice: They are the "The Twin Cities Shot Suppressors."

Facing elimination, the Wolves remembered that they were the best defense in the NBA this season, and for the first six games of these playoffs.

Recapturing the swarming style that won the first two games of this series, the Wolves made the Nuggets look, however temporarily, like a G-League team.

"Once you get our defense in place, I like our chances," Wolves coach Chris Finch said.

What changed? Finch said that in the first two games, his defenders played with desperation when fighting through screens and contesting shots.

"We kinda let that slip," he said. "We found that tonight."

Karl-Anthony Towns bumped shoulders and chests with the great Nikola Jokic. The Wolves guards, aided by the return of the ever-savvy Mike Conley, forced Jamal Murray into a shooting performance that couldn't have been much worse had he been blindfolded.

"Mike's invaluable," Finch said.

Anthony Edwards agreed, citing Conley's return and Towns' ability to stay out of foul trouble as the keys to the dominant performance.

"The main thing was him staying out of foul trouble," Edwards said of Towns. "I cussed him out [because] if KAT don't foul, we're pretty much going to win the game, every time.

"Tonight he had three fouls — but he only had three. He didn't have five. I told him, 'If you foul, we lose, because you're the best matchup we have for Jokic. You're the best option we have to standing up to his first dribble.' "

Edwards and defensive ace Jaden McDaniels cited the Wolves' coaches putting together a video demonstrating how they could return to dominance. "It was like a hype video," McDaniels said.

Murray went 1-for-11 while the game was in doubt and finished 4-for-18.

The Wolves hassled Jokic into what for him was a poor performance. Their bench outscored Denver's 15-0 through three quarters.

The Nuggets didn't reach 50 points until midway through the third quarter.

Defense requires attitude, and the Wolves displayed plenty in Game 6.

Games like these display why sports fatalism is so silly, as well as predictions.

No one knows what will happen. Perhaps the only predictable outcome of this series arrived when Denver won Game 5 at home to take the series lead.

After that game, the Wolves sounded lost, as if they had no idea how to counter Jokic.

That's what they said to the media.

Then Edwards told the Ball Arena workers to expect a return visit.

With Towns bumping Jokic early, and the Wolves helping and scrambling to take away Jokic's easiest options, he made 9 of 19 shots for 22 points, with nine rebounds and two assists.

The Wolves defense reduced the best player in the world to … a very-good-but-less-efficient player.

Finch said the key to defending Jokic, other than offering resistance, is "giving him different looks."

Jokic had zero turnovers in Game 5, and three in Game 6, as the Wolves' active hands and feet made him feel like the game was more like calculus and less like arithmetic.

By the end of the night, fans were chanting "Wolves in seven."

"Should be fun on Sunday," said Finch.

As an homage to Randle and the history of great Minnesota defenses, face paint may be in order.