The Chicago Bulls will head into Indiana with a one game lead over the Pacers for the division crown. They'll try and build onto that lead without Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich while Carlos Boozer is a game time decision.
Without having a specific diagnosis for either injured player, I'd say it's a good guess that both will be out through at least the all-star break. The Bulls options to add a big man are limited. I'm not sure entirely how days are counted in the NBA for partial salaries, but the Bulls only had enough room to sign someone to the minimum after Nov 17th. If we go by games the Bulls could afford to pay the minimum for 73 games.
Daequon Cook signed on January 6th, going by games, he could signed up for 50 games. That means the Bulls only could pay for 23 more games the rest of the season which means they couldn't pay someone the minimum right now. Granted, it doesn't go by games, it goes by days, but using games is a close enough proxy that I believe the Bulls can't offer the veteran minimum to any player due to the hard cap [and I can't easily calculate the number of days, so deal with my estimation].
The Bulls could sign a big man to a 10 day contract just to get to the all-star break, but since they haven't done so yet, it seems unlikely that they're going to. Especially if Boozer is able to come back tonight [or Thursday would seem likely if he was close tonight but can't go] then their need to sign someone else will significantly decrease.
Kenyon Martin is my leading candidate for such a signing if the Bulls were able to squeeze another player in. He may consider the Bulls since they'll be legitimate championship contenders, and he'd probably be able to find a 5-10 minute per game niche as a fourth big man if he's still capable.
A SG needs to step up
On paper, the Bulls should lose. The Pacers are an extremely hard working, hustle oriented team that will bring more talent to the table tonight than Chicago. The Bulls may catch a break if George Hill is unable to go and while listed as questionable, it's probably more likely than not that he plays. The Bulls will need to bring more to the table than hustle to beat the Pacers tonight.
The Bulls need at least one of their SGs to to step up. Last game, Hamilton and Belinelli combined for 4/22 from the field, and Belinelli who played well as a starter has hit a wall again as a reserve going back into the tank. Chicago frequently struggles to find offense, but they have capable offensive shooting guard who just aren't performing.
While expecting 50% from the field from the pair is probably a stretch, getting 40% from the field with as many points as shots (via FTs and 3s) seems like an obtainable metric for the duo. At least one of them should be due after the last game.
Team rebounding, everyone needs to do it
The Pacers are going to come into this game with a large size advantage on the interior. They play with a lot of hustle and energy, and the small ball Bulls lineup may struggle to keep them off the glass as well as stop them from scoring in the paint. Chicago's going to need plenty of help from its wing players on the glass to clean things up and may need to sacrifice some fast break/leak out opportunities to make sure everyone is attacking the defensive glass.
With the Bulls can't afford to give up second chance points when they'll already be fighting through a talent deficit.
The Bulls need good Nate
Nate Robinson's a streaky player. If he wasn't, he'd be making eight to 10 million a year instead of the minimum. He's had far more good streaks than John Lucas III, Jannero Pargo, or some other scrubby minimum player though, and the Bulls have come to rely on him to create offense. There are games where he's going to shoot 25%, but when Hinrich is out, the Bulls will be hard pressed to win those games, because they simply have no other options.
Nate will control much of what happens with the team, and the Bulls fate without Hinrich and Rose rests largely on his shoulders. If he played well, the Bulls have a chance, if he plays poorly their odds are minimal. It's tough to pin the outcome of the game on a minimum salaried player who won't even be in the rotation once the whole team is healthy, but that's where the Bulls are.
Hoping for the best
In the end, I think the Pacers have too much fight for the Bulls to hustle away a win with a depleted roster. It'd be a tough battle if they had Hinrich/Noah and without the pair they'll need something pretty special from someone to make up for it. The cumulative wear and tear on Robinson, Butler, Deng, and Gibson is also going to cause problems as games go on since these guys are plying huge minutes every night.
That said, the Pacers offense can go into Bulls like slumps, so there's always a chance to simply out shoot them in the game.