​After making ​a triumphant return from a 17-game absence to help the Lakers earn a hard-fought overtime win over the Clippers Thursday night, LeBron James is heading back to the pine.

In the interest of what the team is calling "load management," the King will not participate in tonight's mega-matchup between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

This is a letdown for the ​NBA world ​in many respects -- this one was tabbed for a national free TV broadcast on ABC -- but you've got to accept the reasoning from the Purple and Gold here. LeBron is the key to everything. There will be no playoff basketball for this team if he can't stay healthy. Taking this precaution does make sense, particularly given the unexpected workload LBJ had to take on in the overtime game Thursday.

​​This is all of a piece that says the Warriors are going to absolutely roll the Lake Show in Oakland. Heck, for good measure, LA big man Tyson Chandler is out, too! Expect an absolute eruption from the two-time defending champs.

Hey, maybe LeBron is waiting for the postseason to take on the Dubs and show them that he's still got it. 

Basketball fans can only hope.