Road to the Playoffs: Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul

Apr 13, 2017 by Print

In just its second season at the elite European level, Darussafaka set high goals for itself this season when it appointed David Blatt as head coach and signed six new players over the summer.

The team had an atypical start to the season with a pair of narrow road wins and two losses at home in its first four games. However Darussafaka soon flashed its potential with a 91-83 victory over CSKA Moscow in Round 7.

The team was riding high and tied for second place at 5-2, but slumped to four losses in a row and dropped out of the playoffs zone. Streakiness was starting to become a trait associated with Darussafaka as it reeled off three straight victories; Brad Wanamaker scored 27 in an 81-68 victory over Real Madrid, which proved to be the largest margin of defeat Los Blancos would suffer all season. That was followed by a road win at Fenerbahce Istanbul.

By Round 14, Darussafaka was back in the playoffs zone, two games clear of ninth place and welcoming another force to the lineup in Ante Zizic.

However, Darussafaka lost its next seven road games and started to slip in the standings. After falling in Madrid in Round 23, Darussafaka was alone in ninth place. Then came defeats at Olympiacos Piraeus and CSKA, which left the team two victories out of the playoff zone with three to play.

A tough win over Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul and an overtime triumph at Brose Bamberg, its first victory outside of Istanbul since December, set up a classic win-or-go-home finale to the regular season against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.

Wanamaker and Scottie Wilbekin answered the call to lead the way in a 78-62 victory that sent Darussafaka into the playoffs for the first time with a winning record, 16-14, and eighth place.

After its history-making finish to the season, Darussafaka is riding high and confident that it can make noise on an even bigger stage regardless of the opponent.