Jrue Holiday played a critically important role in the Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals sweep, which Boston completed Monday night in Indiana.

And if the C’s want to raise the 18th championship banner in franchise history, Shannon Sharpe believes Holiday will need to play even better in the NBA Finals than he did against the Pacers.

Sharpe on Tuesday made a case for why Holiday will be Boston’s most important player on the championship stage. The “First Take” co-host framed his argument around the expectation that Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will finish the job against the Minnesota Timberwolves and win the Western Conference.

“He’s (Holiday) got his work cut out,” Sharpe said on ESPN. “He’s going to have to deal with Luka. Here’s a guy who can shoot the three, he can get by you. He has a big body, so Holiday can’t body him up like he did T.J. McConnell, like he did (Andrew) Nembhard, like he did Tyrese Haliburton. Nah, Luka got a big body. Luka can play through Holiday.

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“He’s going to have to keep him under control. And what I mean (by) under control, he’s (Doncic) probably going to get 25, but you can’t let him get 35 and 13. That’s where Luka beats you down. Not only does he get points for himself, when he dishes out double-digit assists he’s bringing everybody else. So, Holiday has the most important job. He has the most important task. He has to neutralize Luka Doncic.”

Sharpe also anticipates a demanding series for Derrick White, who could be the primary defender on Kyrie Irving. Irving always is a nightmare assignment for opposing players, and he could be a particularly difficult cover with the motivation of playing against his former team with a title on the line.

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Barring a miraculous T-Wolves comeback, the Celtics and the Mavericks will kick off the Finals on June 6 at TD Garden.

Featured image via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images