Playing for the city of New York isn't easy. Home to fans that exude high expectations and sporting organizations rich in wealth and history, the Big Apple brings pressure that isn't for every athlete. Nevertheless, that said pressure seems to be something that New York Knicks players aren't fazed about. The Knicks took home an overtime win on Sunday, clinching the Eastern Conference's second seed. What could be their best regular-season campaign in years stems from many things, one of which is the team's locker-room culture. In the aftermath of the Knicks' 120-119 win over the Chicago Bulls, Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo shed light on what it's like to be a part of the present New York squad.

Brunson spoke about how there's no finger-pointing or blaming among the players.

“It's a mixture of the chemistry we have, a mixture of the coaches and how they want us to have a mentality,” Brunson said, alluding to the mentality of keeping the blame game away from the Knicks' locker room. “Guys just have that mindset. It's how most of us grew up as basketball players.” (per Knicks Videos)

Moreover, DiVincenzo emphasized that the Knicks players want each other to succeed.

“I think we genuinely like each other,” DiVincenzo said. “It's not BS, it's not for the cameras — I think everybody in this locker room likes each other and everybody in this locker room wants everybody else to succeed. That's the rarity here.”

“It's not ‘I'm trying to get mine, I hope you succeed as well.' It's ‘I hope you succeed, and you're gonna help me succeed at the same time.' And I think that's the overall mindset in this locker room and it's helped us get 50 wins this year,” he added.

The Knicks secure the 2nd seed

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives past Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

That mindset has certainly worked wonders for the Knicks, who decided to end their 82-game crusade on a high note against the Bulls. It was a back-and-forth game the whole way, with 15 lead changes and neither team going up by more than eight points.

With two minutes left in regulation, a jumper by Donte DiVincenzo put New York up by one, 105-104. Bulls guard Alex Caruso then answered with a three-pointer to give Chicago a two-point advantage. After Jalen Brunson sank free throws to tie, a reverse layup by Colby White brought the Bulls back up two. Brunson then sank a pull-up jumper in the shaded lane to bring another deadlock with a minute remaining. Despite near baskets, neither team was able to score in the final 60 seconds, resulting in extra time.

In overtime, the action continued, as the Knicks clung to a 118-114 lead with a minute left. A layup and a charity stripe hit by DeMar DeRozan cut it down to one, but a Josh Hart tip-in put the Knicks up three with 20 seconds to go. Caruso scored inside to trim the Bulls' deficit once more, and a costly Knicks turnover gave Chicago the final possession while down a point.

Fortunately for the Madison Square Garden spectators, New York's defense would cause DeRozan to miss the game-winning attempt.

New York is on the rise

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau high fives New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) with guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) and forward OG Anunoby (8) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the season, New York wasn't predicted to be a second seed. While they did make it to the second round of last year's playoffs, in addition to a fifth-place Eastern Conference finish during the season, the Knicks were still not considered a top team in the East. Understandable, looking at how the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers boasted superstar talent.

Nevertheless, the team showed what they're capable of. Despite struggling in February after losing Julius Randle to a season-ending injury, the Knicks somehow found their groove again by mid-March. Going on spurts of wins, New York managed to finish the season strong, ending their homestretch with a five-game winning streak at the expense of teams such as the Celtics and the Bucks.

With Jalen Brunson leading the way, the Knicks are ushering in a new era of Big Apple basketball — one that includes plenty of victories. It's been over two decades since the team experienced an elusive NBA Finals appearance. While there's no guarantee that they'll break the dry spell this year, with the way the team is playing, anything can happen.