Even though Derrick Rose returned, the Bulls were far from healthy in Wednesday’s gutsy 95-86 win over Milwaukee.

Without Joakim Noah for the second consecutive night due to illness, it was the Bulls’ frontcourt depth that, again, shined in his absence to improve to 4-1 overall and drop the Bucks to 2-3. Rose had 13 points and seven assists in his return from dual ankle sprains, but Taj Gibson had 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Pau Gasol added 22 and 12 of his own to carry the offense.

Jabari Parker, making his professional debut against Rose, a fellow Simeon High alum, finished with a quiet eight points and six rebounds on an off shooting night. Prior to the game, Parker said he always admired Rose’s game and still considered him one of his idols.

Jimmy Butler had just 12 points, but he contributed in nearly every other way with seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. It was the forced turnovers in particular that kick-started the Bulls in the third quarter as the offense slogged through the second-night of a back-to-back.

The Bulls should be getting Noah back ahead of their game on Friday in Philadelphia, but they survived without him on Wednesday after doing the same Tuesday night against Orlando. The Bulls missed Rose on Tuesday as well, but after questions about his status, he finally returned on Wednesday.

Rose opened the game with Butler, Gibson, Gasol and Mike Dunleavy, and it marked Bulls’ fourth different starting lineup in their five regular season games.

The Bulls flipped a four-point halftime deficit into a 72-70 lead on the strength of its defense. It was quintessential good-defense-to-good-offense as the Bucks shot just 7 for 22 in the quarter. The Bulls had four steals, which directly led to eight fastbreak points — their only transition buckets to that point.

Butler, almost like an NFL cornerback, has developed a penchant for sitting on outlet passes only to jump them and convert on easy lay-ins. He had three steals in the quarter, but none prettier than when he finished off a give-and-go from Rose to give the Bulls a 58-55 lead.