A Steed Malbranque goal earned Tottenham a deserved and hard-earned point at Portsmouth.
Defoe failed to score against Pompey for the first time in four games
Benjani Mwaruwari put Portsmouth ahead with a right foot shot from 20 yards out that was aided by a Callum Davenport deflection.
Spurs levelled when substitute Danny Murphy's cross found an unmarked Malbranque at the back post to score.
Tottenham should have gone on to win the game, with Jermain Defoe and Tom Huddlestone both denied by David James.
A win would have seen Pompey move up to fifth place but Harry Redknapp's side were rarely at their best in difficult conditions at a wet and dreary Fratton Park.
There was little festive spirit early on as Hossam Ghaly was left with a bloody mouth after receiving a kick to the face from Noe Pamarot - one of four ex-Tottenham players in the Pompey side.
From the free-kick Huddlestone found Dimitar Berbatov but he headed over.
Defoe had the chance to extend his three-game scoring streak against Pompey when he was one-on-one with James but the keeper came out quickly to deny his England team-mate.
606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on the match
Ghaly returned after having his facial wound patched up, but Pamarot was not so fortunate as he was withdrawn after going down injured.
His replacement Niko Kranjcar played a part in Portsmouth breaking the deadlock.
He played the ball into Benjani, who took advantage of the space given to him by the Spurs defence to run at their goal and unleash a shot that deflected off Davenport, giving Paul Robinson no chance.
Tottenham boss Martin Jol threw on Murphy for Ghaly at half-time and the switch reaped almost instant dividends when he created their equaliser.
His run into the box was spotted by Berbatov, and Murphy produced a pinpoint cross for Malbranque to head in easily.
Tottenham looked the more likely to go on and win it with Berbatov wasting a good position with a wild, drilled cross before Defoe cut inside Linvoy Primus and unleashed a shot that James parried and Matt Taylor helped clear.
Benjani got his fourth of the season
Huddlestone went close with a left-foot shot that James did brilliantly to get down to and keep out.
At the other end Pompey had penalty appeals when Pascal Chimbonda appeared to handle in the box, while Sol Campbell could have marked his 400th league appearance with a goal against the club he started his career with but headed over.
Spurs were Portsmouth's opponents for manager Harry Redknapp's first game in charge, just over a year ago.
Pompey also took the lead then before a second-half collapse.
But the side have a bit more steel about them these days, which bodes well if they are to achieve their fans' ambitions of going on a European tour next season.
Tottenham's collection of four points from as many games over the Christmas period does little to help their own European hopes.
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp:
"Benjani worked hard and deserved his goal but David James was fantastic. If he is no longer in the England squad then there must be something wrong.
"After Robinson the other England keepers are lads who cannot get places in their own club teams like Liverpool and Manchester United and are out on loan. He is still the best keeper I've worked with.
"The team did well after a hard game on a heavy pitch at Bolton on Saturday and our aim is still to stay as high up the table as possible."
Tottenham manager Martin Jol:
"Although we played some very good football at times in the first half you get nothing without spirit and determination which we showed in the second half.
"Murphy did well again after his performance against Liverpool on Saturday when I thought we were unlucky to lose.
"It is good to get a point here because Portsmouth are so good at set-pieces but I thought we had four or five possibilities to score and their goal came from their first shot on target.
"We are doing OK. We are missing players like Ledley King and Robbie Keane and now Ghaly will be out. But when players like Davenport show character and determination like today you can get by."
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Primus, Campbell,
Pamarot (Kranjcar 13), O'Neil (Cole 73), Pedro Mendes, Davis,
Taylor, Kanu, Mwaruwari.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, O'Brien, Fernandes.
Goals: Mwaruwari 29.
Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Davenport, Lee,
Ghaly (Murphy 46), Huddlestone, Tainio, Malbranque (Gardner 79), Berbatov, Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Zokora, Ziegler.
Booked: Tainio, Lee, Davenport, Malbranque.
Goals: Malbranque 50.
Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).