It was an open game from the off, with the two sides' technically-gifted players keeping the ball on the floor.
William Gallas and Oscar saw efforts miss the target at either end before the deadlock was broken by Chelsea in the 17th minute.
© PA Photos
The visitors could have had a two-goal lead at the break if Juan Mata had beaten Friedel with a first-time shot or the resulting rebound.
The home side completed an eight-minute turnaround through Defoe in the 54th minute. The England forward curled home Aaron Lennon's dragged shot past Cech at his near post.
Ashley Cole then saw a penalty appeal waved away by Mike Dean before Chelsea did equalise midway through the half.
Oscar's cross from the right was poked clear by Gallas but straight into the path of Mata, who slid the ball into the bottom corner.
The diminutive Spaniard then added to the topsy-turvy encounter minutes later by tucking home Hazard's incisive pass to make it 3-2 in the 69th minute.
Spurs piled forward and came close on a number of occasions, with Kyle Walker's long-range effort just pushed wide of the post by Cech.
Although Spurs looked set to equalise, it was Chelsea who got the next as Mata fed substitute Daniel Sturridge for the simplest of tap-ins at the back post.
Three points for Roberto Di Matteo's men puts them seven points clear of the rest at the top of the Premier League.